- Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Senate and Assembly advanced their own budget proposals Thursday as negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the massive spending blueprint enter their final weeks.

The budget resolutions endorsed by the two bodies on Thursday both call for greater spending on education and balk at Cuomo’s effort to tie state spending to his own proposals to reform legislative ethics rules and change teacher evaluations and tenure.

The Senate proposal is heavier on tax relief than the proposals from either Cuomo or the Assembly, including a tax rebate for an estimated 3.3 million homeowners that goes further than a property tax credit proposed by Cuomo.

The Assembly’s recommendation includes a phased minimum wage increase to $12.60. Cuomo’s budget includes a more modest minimum wage hike - to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in New York City.

Cuomo’s $142 billion proposal includes two contentious policy items that many lawmakers hope to eliminate or significantly modify. One is a requirement that lawmakers detail their outside income and provide receipts when seeking expense reimbursements. The other involves tougher tenure rules for teachers and new evaluations more reliant on student test performance.



Top lawmakers are now negotiating the details of the budget with Cuomo in a series of closed-door meetings. Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos said Thursday the talks are progressing well and that he is optimistic the budget will be approved before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1.

“I think everyone is committed to having an on-time budget,” Skelos said.

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