For the first time in six years, we're talking about a late state budget. In one word, Senate Democrats like Tim Kennedy are annoyed.
“This is a simple lack of leadership and a failure of leadership by the Senate Republicans. We shouldn't stand for it. We're not going to stand for it and we're calling them out,” Kennedy said via phone, Sunday.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns is also a Democrat. But, since he is in the Assembly majority, he sees the ongoing budget negotiations differently. “We want to get this done. We've been talking about these issues but we have to come up and make some difficult decisions. Going through the budget is a difficult process,” Kearns said via FaceTime Sunday.
Kearns is pleased that ridesharing has been given the greenlight upstate.
However, he's still fighting for the W.N.Y. Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca. Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to merge the center with one in Buffalo. “Sen. Gallivan and myself, we've saved this in the budget the last few years but we're trying to get a final solution. It's an important issue for our most vulnerable population.”
Sources said juvenile justice reform remained a sticking point so far in both houses late Sunday.
Education funding also remains up in the air. School aid runs (as they're called in Albany) also remain high on Kennedy's list.
Kennedy said he continues to keep a close eye on buffalo billion funding, too. “I said I wouldn't vote for a budget without Buffalo Billion funding in there and it looks like that funding is moving forward. So, we're very pleased about that.”
Still, missing the budget deadline could have consequences. Under state law, legislative pay could be withheld if lawmakers fail to pass a budget.
Alternatively, if lawmakers reject Cuomo's budget extender it could force a government shutdown.