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Smiles outside, fights backstage in budget talks

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- Legislative leaders were all confident and smiling again about the pace of negotiations over a 2014 state budget that needs to be approved by Monday to be considered timely before the start of the fiscal year on April 1.

But behind the scenes, the battles continued. Last week, it was Senate co-leader Dean Skelos who blew off some steam in closed-door budget talks. Today, it was Larry Schwartz, the secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Sources close to the talks said an angry Schwartz said he was quitting before he exited the negotiating room on the second floor.

No such words were uttered by Schwartz, Cuomo administration officials said. They chalked up Schwartz's departure from the negotiating session as part of the normal blow-ups that mark the closing days before a final budget deal is reached. Indeed, there is a long history in Albany of negotiators, many of whom are getting by on too little sleep and too much caffeine, getting into yellling matches before the handshake deals come. One year, it took a trip by legislative leaders to a nearby Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor to make amends before a budget deal.

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Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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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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