Albany pols keep government running as budget talks stall

The State Legislature passed a budget extender funding the government through May.
Photo by Mike Groll/AP
By Patrick Donachie

The state Legislature passed a budget extender, which will fund the state government at the previous year’s level throughout May 31, to avoid a government shutdown, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. But significant challenges remain, according to Queens elected officials.

“I voted on this extender to ensure that emergency responders, teachers, highway construction projects, and other government provided services that are so important to our daily lives can continue without interruption and so that the entire state can continue its daily operations while us legislators continue to hammer out a deal,” state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said about the vote.

Avella said a key sticking point between Senate Republicans and Democrats, including both the main party and the breakaway Independent Democratic Committee (of which Avella is a member), is continuing negotiations over raising the age at which individuals are automatically tried as adults.

New York state is one of only two states in the country that prosecutes everyone as an adult when they turn 16 years old, according to the advocacy group Raise the Age NY, which released a statement expressing its disappointment over the inability of Cuomo and the Legislature to reach an agreement.

“Until they do so, New York will continue to lag behind the rest of the country,” the statement said. “We urge the governor and state Legislature to remain in Albany this week and to reach a final budget agreement that includes Raise the Age legislation.”

Avella said any budget that did not include Raise the Age was a “non-starter.”

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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