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It's budget time: warnings, blow-ups, fog

ALBANY – State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers not to go on a last-minute spending spree just because tax collections are running higher than earlier projected.

While total tax receipts for the month of February were $172 million higher than estimates, DiNapoli cautioned the numbers are bit skewed, in part, because the administration budget office already re-calculated the revenue numbers twice since the budget was adopted last March.

“We should continue to be cautious about revenue assumptions for the coming year,’’ DiNapoli said today.

The warnings come as lawmakers and Cuomo are trying to negotiate the final details of a 2012 budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1.

Negotiators said there was a blow-up at last night’s meeting between top fiscal staff, and hallway chatter is well underway about whether lawmakers want to give Cuomo bragging rights for too early of a budget adoption this year.

Cuomo, lawmakers in both parties say, is pressing to have budget bills printed in time for the constitutionally mandated three-day “aging’’ process to give the public, special interest groups and others time to go through the bills. Cuomo was stung last week by watchdog groups and editorials for the last-minute, under-cover-of-darkness ways in which a number of important issues – including new district lines for the Legislature – were approved.

Uncertain, though, if the aging goal would apply to district-by-district school funding computer runs. The details of such mothers’ milk of politics – education aid – usual doesn’t emerge until minutes before lawmakers even see them before floor votes are held.

Still not resolved this morning are “table targets,’’ which are the fiscal numbers the various legislative conference committees will be give to tinker around the edges of the overall spending plan.

-- Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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