State lawmakers agree on budget deal

Posted at: 03/20/2013 8:16 PM
Updated at: 03/21/2013 9:42 AM
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY – State lawmakers have agreed on a budget deal for 2013-2014.

According to the governor's office, the deal includes tax cuts for small businesses and middle class families, a minimum wage increase and a pension stabilization plan.

They're calling it a two-year "budget framework" -- a conceptual budget -- which is another way of saying they're not really done, but they are done with major issues.

"Nothing is dropped," Gov. Cuomo said in a Red Room news conference Wednesday night. "We're going to still work on other issues. We might have an agreement with other issues. We want to get the budget itself underway."

Getting the budget underway means sending budget bills to the print shop, which is what began happening Wednesday night.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, says this budget addresses the Assembly's core priorities -- education, public health and affordable housing.

"It honors the moral obligation we share to preserve the social security net and to meet the pressing needs of our most vulnerable citizens,” Silver said.

Middle class citizens -- families with children whose incomes are between $40,000 and $300,000 -- are promised tax breaks, a $350 tax credit.

"We believe they will spend that money here in the state of New York," the governor said.

For those New Yorkers who work at the minimum wage, pay raises are on the way -- up to $8 an hour beginning in January 2014, $8.75 in January 2015 and up to $9 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

"As you know, President Obama challenged Congress to raise the minimum wage in the next three years to nine dollars," said Sen. Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx. "Unfortunately we can't wait for Congress. So New York State is going to go to it now."

Senate Major Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island, calls it "an outstanding budget" that emphasizes job creation and tax cuts, but also symbolizes something else that's very important as well.

"It's the third budget in a row that is not only going to be on time," Skelos said. "It's going to be early, way early."

Voting on the budget could be as early as this weekend.