DeFrancisco thinks state lawmakers can deliver budget on time - again

Mar 11, 2013

The hearings are over; the New York State Assembly and Senate have put together their respective spending plans. Now this week, lawmakers in Albany get down to the details of hammering out a state budget that both chambers can agree on. Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco of Syracuse believes it can be done before the April 1 deadline.

The next step is for the two sides to come together in joint conference committees. That's where they resolve the differences in the two budget versions. DeFrancisco says there aren't many.

"The economy's not good, the moneys not there. There's cuts. There's not much disagreement that cuts have to be made. The question is where, and that's the main disagreement," said the senator.

DeFrancisco says if lawmakers can stick to the issues in the state budget, they have a better chance of making the deadline.

"For example minimum wage is an issue that is not a budget issue. If you want to hold up the budget to have a battle, in the past, that's what happened in the past, that's why the budget was always late," he said. "If we can keep all the budget related things here, we can resolve it before April 1st."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suggested the minimum wage issue may be taken up later in the legislative session. If lawmakers can pass a budget before the deadline, it would be the third year in a row the state's budget has come in on time. There is a tighter schedule this year because of the Passover and Easter holidays that come at the end of March, meaning budget bills would have to be printed earlier than usual.