If so, it'll be the first since 2006, says the NY Daily News. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders announced a deal on the budget this afternoon, and it looks a lot like the budget Cuomo proposed back in February:
The budget calls for a 2% decrease in overall spending and closes a $10 billion deficit - without any new tax hikes or borrowing.
"It is a big deal when this state passes a budget on time," Cuomo said after striking the deal. "It's an exceptionally big deal when the state passes a budget on time under these circumstances."
Aside from a handful of changes, the agreement largely mirrors the spending plan Cuomo proposed on February 1 and represents a significant victory for the freshman governor.
Two things the budget won't have, unless things change radically between now and the April 1 due date:
1. An extension of the so-called millionaires' tax, which local GOP state senator John Bonacic has expressed support for, but which has failed to gain traction among his fellow Republicans.
2. Restoration of most of the education funds Cuomo has been seeking to cut from the budget. The current agreement restores just $272 million of Cuomo's proposed $1.5 billion cut to school aid, the Daily News reports (link above).
The New York Times says the massive cuts to education and health care may be too much for rank-and-file Democrats to swallow:
Sunday’s announcement came as Democrats, teachers unions, and other groups mounted a last-ditch effort to force reconsideration of those measures. While lawmakers in both the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled Assembly typically vote for budget deals that their leadership helped design, some Democrats have in recent days openly discussed voting against a budget that was too austere.
A cut that's sure to cause consternation on the other side of the aisle: the budget calls for reducing 3,700 prison beds across the state. Since most state prisons are in GOP-controlled upstate districts, calls for reducing prison spending don't tend to sit well with state Republicans.
But Cuomo has been more than willing to go head-to-head with prison-heavy districts, declaring in his first State of the State address: "An incarceration program is not an employment program."
We'll post more detailed information on the proposed budget -- which is sure to have some pain for everybody -- as it becomes available. (A burning question for us, especially given that the issue of natural gas drilling and whether the state is ready to police it is still a very hot topic in New York State: How did the DEC fare?)