Legislature delivers historic on-time budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s Legislature, once determined to be the most dysfunctional in the nation, has passed a historically difficult budget on time amid the heckling of protesters.

Early Thursday, the Assembly passed its final budget bills in the $132.5 billion budget that cuts spending 2 percent. The Republican-led Senate had completed it bills before midnight.

“Yes, there’s pain,” said Sen. Hugh Farley, a Schenectady County Republican, acknowledging the chanting on four floors of the Capitol. “But there’s pain for everybody. We are solving a huge problem, and we are bringing back New York state to the Empire State again.”

Final negotiations and delays in printing the bills made for a tense night as lawmakers worked through the snags and raced to adopt the budget by midnight Wednesday. It is just the fourth adopted by the annual April 1 deadline since 1983.

The budget would eliminate a $10 billion deficit caused by years of overspending, overtaxing and overdependence on Wall Street. Through negotiations with the Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget increased about $250 million but was offset by equal reductions that left record cuts to schools, public universities and health care for the poor.

Late Wednesday night, lawmakers and Cuomo agreed on how to divide $230 million in restorations of base operating aid for school districts. Under that agreement, New York City schools will get $51 million, Long Island schools will get $45 million and upstate schools will get $134 million.

The statewide cut in school aid remains historic at $697 million.

The budget contains no tax increases or significant borrowing.

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