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Sleepy eyes and all, Senate passes budget bills

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- Tully rule notwithstanding, the Senate pulled an all-nighter and passed the 2013 state budget bills shortly before 5 this morning. [They broke for a spring break, a vacation that was to begin last week but was stalled with budget snags; the Senate is due back April 15.]

"We should be very proud of the results of this budget,'' Senate co-leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, told colleagues shortly before the house adjourned.

"We achieved a budget that is fiscally responsible. This budget is pro-taxpayer, pro-family, pro-jobs and builds on our successes of the past two years,'' he said.

Democrats, though, spent hours noting the fiscal plan's shortcomings, including cuts for developmentally disabled people, public health programs and a minimum wage hike that is less than what many Democrats had sought.

"Our work is not done. we've left too many people behind,'' said Senate Democratic conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester County Democrat.

The all-night session is a break with the tradition of the Senate that has held largely in place since 1997. It was that year when Sen. Michael Tully, a Long Island Republican, died of a heart attack following an all-night gathering.

"This is a vampire bill,'' said freshman Sen. Terry Gibson, a Dutchess County Democrat, in urging colleagues, unsuccessfully, to hold the budget deliberations during daylight.

The Assembly is due back tomorrow to take up the budget bills.

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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.

[email protected]


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.

[email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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