State misses April 1 budget deadline

NEW YORK - The New York State Legislature missed the April 1 deadline to pass the state budget, leaving eight of nine bills on the Senate floor.

State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith cited tough negotiations and unexpected issues, like state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson catching pneumonia, as the main reasons behind missing the deadline.

All 30 state Senate Republicans planned to oppose the $131.8 billion budget plan, which officials say is packed with new fees, increased taxes and unexpected cuts. There are nearly $8.3 billion worth of taxes and fines, including nickel deposits on water bottles. Some New York businesses may also be required to pay a larger portion of their taxes earlier in the year.

Other issues to be debated include nearly $800 million in restorations to Gov. David Paterson's proposed health care and school funding cuts.

Despite Republican disappointment in the proposed budget, there were some who thought progress was being made.

"We were able to create new jobs that will jumpstart the economy," Austin Shafran, Smith's spokesperson, says. "Overall, in a very bad budget, there are still some areas of good news for New York City and the rest of the state."

Under the state constitution, 32 of the Senate's 62 votes are required to pass legislation. Officials say this is New York's 23rd late budget in 25 years.

AP wire services contributed to this report

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