Last Friday, the Legislature completed its joint legislative budget hearings. The next step in the budget process is for the Governor and legislative leaders agree on a revenue forecast – essentially how much money the state will have to spend in the state’s 2015-16 fiscal year.
According to the Joint Legislative Budget schedule that was released by Senator Skelos and Speaker Heastie earlier this month, the two houses are expected to act on their respective “one-house” budget bills by March 12. After that, the two houses are expected to commence budget conference committees.
But Gov. Cuomo has thrown something of a wrench into the process that has led to four consecutive on-time state budgets. He has promised that he will use his budget powers to force the Legislature to approve his education and ethics reform proposals. The Governor believes that he can add these measures to his emergency budget extenders that will keep the state running if the Legislature does not agree to these policy proposals by April 1.
We hope that it will not come to that. We remember too clearly the 20+ years of late budgets in Albany, too many of which included unsustainable taxing and spending policies.