By Tom Precious
ALBANY -- The legislative calendar shows today as a "getaway day,'' the day of the week when lawmakers usually hold brief morning sessions and then hit the road and rails to get home.
But Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos has told his members to hang around until tomorrow. That's because the table targets -- the term used to describe how much money they have to spend -- have not been assigned to the various two-house budget conference committees.
Lawmakers all have their own calendar guessing game underway. One envisioned the table targets being received soon with the conference committees wrapping their work up today followed by an evening meeting of the "mother ship.'' [That's the super committee composed of legislative leaders who have to formally adopt the work of the conference committees.]
Another saw the committee process dragging into tomorrow, with budget bills starting to be passed later next week so lawmakers could meet their scheduled March 21 departure date for a spring holiday. Another saw the budget being passed on March 25; that would be the day after Palm Sunday and the day when Passover starts at sundown.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders this morning held a closed-door meeting and, in the annual ritual that signals deals are close, no one is publicly talking any details.
UPDATE: The first rule of Albany is a simple one. Flexibility. Now, lawmakers are being told they can go home. Indeed, many are already on the Thruway.
UPDATE: See first rule about Albany. Now senators are being told to stay tonight for a morning budget briefing tomorrow. Assembly members have gone home.