State budget talks hit snag before deadline

State budget talks have hit a snag just over one day before the deadline for approval. By midday Tuesday, state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan,

State budget talks have hit a snag just over one day before the deadline for approval.

State budget talks have hit a snag just over one day before the deadline for approval. (3/30/16)

ALBANY, N.Y. - State budget talks have hit a snag just over one day before the deadline for approval.

By midday Tuesday, state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, of East Northport, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie emerged from a nearly two-hour meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and said they expected a budget deal by the end of the day.

After another roughly two-hour, closed-door meeting in the governor's office on Wednesday, both men said that no final agreements had been made.

The biggest point of contention in the talks remains raising the state's minimum wage. Senate Republicans have been balking at Cuomo's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2021.

State Sen. Phil Boyle, of Bay Shore, who heads the Committee on Small Business, says employers across Long Island may not to be able to absorb higher payroll costs.

There does seem to be some good news in the budget for Long Island. State Sen. Carl Marcellino, of Oyster Bay, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, tells News 12 that he's hopeful there will be a nearly 7 percent increase in school aid. Also, there appears to be agreement on full restoration of what's called the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, which is essentially money the state withheld from school districts during the state's budget crunch.

Getting rid of the GEA would help schools become more financially stable, but Sayville school Superintendent Walter Schartner says that districts would still have to watch their spending.

Assemblyman Andrew Raia, of Huntington, says the extra influx of money will help school districts in both Nassau and Suffolk counties come up with budgets that will stay within the property tax cap.

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