It's hard to figure out if Albany's passage of the state budget—originally due on April 1—is a good thing or a bad thing. Here's the AP's lede: "It's four months late and critics say it's so out of balance that it won't hold together, but New York state finally has a budget passed by the Senate," plus, "The fight over the new budget went down to the wire. Senators denounced each other, the governor and even the sloppy wording of the budget bill." Yay, more fighting!
The Assembly had already passed the budget, so it was up to the Senate to stop dragging its feet and it eventually passed the bill, 32-28. The Daily News reports, "At 125 days late, the budget is tied for the third-latest ever and fell just eight days short of the all-time record. Among the new taxes and fees, which passed the Assembly weeks ago, is the restoration of the 4% state sales tax on clothing and shoe purchases under $110. The renewed tax won't begin until October, giving parents one more shot at shopping tax-free for back-to-school clothes."
The State Legislature also removed a controversial tax on out-of-state hedge fund managers (sorry, Connecticut Governor Rell) but failed on a measure to let the SUNY and CUNY system set its own tuition. All told, the state budget is $134.4 billion.
While the Senate Democrats called the budget "fair and responsible," Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) said, “Today, Senate Democrats finished voting on a budget that raises taxes by nearly $4 billion. Today’s action also completes one of the latest budgets in state history. What did taxpayers get as a result? They got higher spending and more taxes, but not a single initiative to create any new jobs or improve New York’s economy.” Even State Senator Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) said, "Don't come here to vote for this bill and tell me you are not selling out your community. If you vote for this bill, you are selling out your community."