State budget update: With no deal, lawmakers prepare to work into the weekend

For the first time under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership, budget negotiations have broken down right at the April 1 deadline, and state legislators are planning to stay put in Albany through the weekend as leaders try to reach a deal.

Negotiations blew up Friday afternoon, in part because of an impasse over a proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old and disagreements over charter school funding and school aid, and it appears no progress has been made since then. There’s has also been talk of dropping the raise the age legislation from the budget entirely,but there’s no final decision yet.

One factor in the state Senate’s decision to postpone further action on Friday night is that Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder, who votes with the state Senate Republicans and is critical to their razor-thin majority, is an Orthodox Jew who observes Shabbat and is unavailable to vote past sundown.

After a conference with Democratic Assembly members, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his chamber was set to vote on the state operations budget bill, but that the state Senate would not. Heastie told reporters that it’s up to Cuomo whether to pass a temporary budget measure in the meantime.

“That’s the governor’s choice if it goes the extender route,” Heastie said, according to the State of Politics blog. “I guess that’s a question better for him. We still want to see if we can negotiate a budget with the Senate and the governor, but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll see what the extender says.”

State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan told reporters that his members would return on Saturday to continue budget discussions and could be needed for a final budget vote if a deal is reached on Saturday.