Delay in passing New York budget could stall paychecks for 39,000 state workers, DiNapoli warns

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Thousands of New York state workers could find themselves waiting on a paycheck if elected officials don’t iron out a budget soon, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement Thursday.

Should a budget not be approved by Monday, DiNapoli said it could mean as many as 39,000 state workers may not get their next paycheck when it’s due on April 8.

He said workers who have automatic payments set up in their banking accounts should take note just in case the budget talks carry on through the weekend.

“Many work in health care and correctional facilities, among other important areas,” DiNapoli said. “Many are essential workers who must show up at work every day and put in long, hard hours.”

Once Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators reach an agreement, state law requires a three-day aging period on a bill before lawmakers can votes on it. However, there are ways to expedite that process.

With Democrats holding supermajorities in the Legislature and presiding in the governor’s mansion, Republicans seized the opportunity Thursday to assail them. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said at a news conference Thursday that Democratic lawmakers were trying to take advantage of a governor riddled by ongoing scandals so they could pass billions in tax increases even after the state received $12.6 billion in American Rescue Plan funding.

“It’s shameful,” Ortt said. “It’s exactly why the (Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski) and I called for the governor to step aside, because we said he couldn’t do the job. And that is more apparent than ever right now.”

After Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, tested positive for COVID-19, Cuomo admitted to reporters that the budget process may take longer than usual because of the complications arising from the coronavirus.

Democrats have noted that negotiations are taking place virtually this year.

Barclay said he’s been in Albany for 18 years. He said he was flabbergasted that even with one-party rule in the state, a budget still cannot be passed before April 1.

“You know, we had a lot in the past where we talked about three men in a room,” Barclay said. “Now, we have three Dems on Zoom, and they still can’t get it done. So, it’s really disappointing.”

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