By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says “it doesn’t matter’’ if Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides a message of necessity to ensure that two budget bills that did not make the midnight Friday introduction deadline are passed by tomorrow.
“We’re going to have a budget on-time tomorrow night. All the appropriation bills will be done on time without messages,’’ Silver said in an interview late this afternoon as Assembly Democrats were getting ready for a closed-door party conference.
While the appropriation bills that set specific spending levels for different areas of the budget were introduced before midnight Friday – thus permitting the legal, three-day aging process before Monday’s vote – two major Article VII “language’’ bills that describe how the state money is to be spent failed to make that deadline.
By any Albany standard imposed on past governors for budget timeliness, it means the budget will be late for the first time in four years unless those two bills are provided messages by Cuomo and then get passed by both legislative houses by midnight Monday.
The bills – education and health – affect more than half the state budget’s spending.
Silver disagreed about what "on time'' means, and showed no inclination, for now, to ask Cuomo for a message, saying it’s the appropriation bills that count. “It’s a matter of convenience more than anything,’’ Silver said of a possible message request. “If there are messages it will be for convenience. We’re going to be here Tuesday regardless, so it really doesn’t matter to us,’’ Silver said.