ALBANY – Early, early, early. That’s been the mantra for weeks by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators about getting the 2012 state budget done before the March 31 deadline.
On Friday, Cuomo appeared to be trying to downplay expectations, which at one point had soared to the point that some officials were boasting a budget would have even been in place by now.
“It doesn’t need to be early from my point of view … I’d like to see it on time if we can. Most importantly, I want to see a good budget. Whether we get it done on time or not is less important to me than whether or not it’s a good budget,’’ Cuomo said this morning on the Capitol Pressroom, a public radio show.
Cuomo did say there are “significant issues’’ still on the negotiating table, though he did not get into specifics on what major issues still separate the sides.
One matter being pushed by Assembly Democrats is to get money for pork barrel spending, or member items, a process that allows individual legislators to steer state money for specific projects in their districts.
Asked about that matter, Cuomo said, “I don’t support new member items in the budget, so they’re not in the budget at this time.’’
“New’’ is an interesting word, especially since some lawmakers are pushing for restoration of member item spending previously approved in past budgets – let’s call it “old” – but not spent.
Then there is the out Cuomo left himself by saying member items are not in the budget “at this time.’’ As in, stay tuned.
-- Tom Precious