NY Legislature misses budget deadline

State lawmakers missed their budget vote deadline Tuesday after a Bronx senator fell ill.
The budget had been expected to be passed 32-30. The vote was delayed, however, when Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-The Bronx) was hospitalized after falling ill on the Senate floor. A Senate spokesman says Hassell-Thompson was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
The budget includes a tax hike on higher-income New York residents and eliminates the STAR property tax rebate, but preserves money individual lawmakers give to non-profits in their home districts. Critics call that pork barrel spending. However, the budget proposal does use federal stimulus funds to keep school aid levels intact.
Minority Republicans, led by Rockville Centre state Sen. Dean Skelos, say they?re furious about the way the spending plan was crafted, behind closed doors by the governor and Democratic leaders. Republicans also object to many parts of the budget. Skelos says he'll introduce more than a dozen amendments to use stimulus funds from Washington to eliminate taxes and restore the STAR program.
Democrats say the budget is not ideal, but is necessary.