ALBANY – The Legislature’s top Republican said the sides are getting closer to a state budget deal, but there is still no overall agreement on the actual size of the fiscal plan.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said today he is “still optimistic’’ for an on-time budget before the April 1 fiscal year start. Also still up in the air is how state money will be distributed to the state’s 700 school districts – always one of the last and most contentious issues before budget deals.
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The Long Island Republican said he also thinks Gov. Andrew Cuomo is cozying up to legislative requests to make public how billions of dollars in proposed transportation spending will be distributed on specific construction projects and with “parity’’ between upstate and Long Island roads and bridges and New York City transit projects.
Skelos said he is also “fairly confident’’ a plan by Cuomo to let him transfer some state money around different agencies later in the year without separate legislative approval will be removed in the final budget deal.
Speaking outside the Senate chamber, Skelos said lawmakers are also pressing to have more legislative input in decisions by Cuomo’s regional economic development councils, including legislative say on composition of the panels and on the “mega-projects’’ the different commissions want to fund.
-- Tom Precious