- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York legislative staffers worked to finish up a state budget with a deadline looming early next week.

Leaders of the state Senate said they were close to a final deal, but needed to work out some last details. Even as some budget bills were being printed Friday night, leaders didn’t know when they would be able to make a formal announcement.

“When you’re working toward a final budget, there are always little things in each of the important pieces, like property tax relief, renter relief, charter schools, universal pre-k,” said Democratic Senate co-leader Jeff Klein as he left a meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday afternoon. “But I think we’re very, very close.”

The budget is due before the start of the state’s new fiscal year on Tuesday.

Cuomo and legislative leaders were hoping to resolve differences and print legislation on Friday. That would clear the way for voting Monday since bills typically must sit on lawmakers’ desks for three days. Cuomo also could waive the three-day rule.

Legislative negotiators had been looking at $300 million to fund New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten initiative with an additional $40 million available for pre-k or other uses for upstate districts.

Advocates said the tentative budget language that would offer the pre-k aid as a reimbursement to cash-strapped districts would hobble its expansion, though Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Friday he had no issue with reimbursements.

Silver said a tax credit to help private and public schools advocated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan probably won’t be included in the budget.

People familiar with the negotiations said a version of Cuomo’s plan to offer property tax rebates to homeowners in jurisdictions that meet cost-cutting goals remained in the mix. But the tentative proposal would give credit to localities for past cost-saving, shared-service agreements.

Legislators and lobbyists said the final budget is expected to contain a corporate tax reduction along with several adjustments to Cuomo’s tax proposals. They include a statewide income tax cut for manufacturers, not just upstate, while still rescinding the separate bank tax and offering an option for taxing just 8 percent of income from selling and trading securities.

The final deal also is expected to raise the exemption from estate taxes from $1 million to about $5 million over five years. The maximum estate tax rate is expected to stay at 16 percent.


Associated Press writers Josefa Velasquez and Michael Virtanen contributed to this report.

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