State budget approval delayed as lawmakers continue to work towards an agreement

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:15 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - Deliberations in Albany came to an early close Friday afternoon. Lawmakers only having reached an agreement on 1 out of 10 proposed budget bills.

“It’s going to be late. It’s not going to be before the weekend is out,” said Assemblyman Scott Gray.

According to State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the holdup can be attributed to “big policy issues”. Chief among them is bail reform.

“The top tier in the language is certainly revisions to the bail reform. Measures that were put in place. The Housing Compact Plan is also a major issue,” said Gray.

Gray has criticized the deliberation process, calling it dysfunctional. Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush has echoed those views.

“You couldn’t run a business that way. You couldn’t run your budget at your house that way, but Albany does,” said Blankenbush.

Here in the North Country, folks won’t see any sort of immediate change from the delay but Senator Mark Walczyk tells us they may at some point.

“It could. I tend to think that the longer we wait, the worse the budget is going to get. That is just kind of the rhythm of Albany and how you feel,” said Walczyk.

In order to keep things running smoothly, Gray says lawmakers are expected to pass an extender when they reconvene Monday.

“It will just continue along in the 2023 budget,” said Gray.

After that, deliberations will resume. Gray says he hopes some work will get done over the weekend, however:

“I hope by Sunday we’re briefing on the remaining 9 budget bills, so we begin to pass them on Monday and Tuesday,” said Gray.

Senator Walczyk however, tells us he’s not optimistic.

“There’s no deal, and not only that, they’re leaving town without even trying,” said Walczyk.

Gray says we may not see a final budget until after Easter.