Late is lame: Albany has no excuses for blowing a backup budget deadline – The Denver Post

Should the state budget be finalized today or tonight or tomorrow or whenever — and regardless of how many extra billions it spends, including corporate welfare for NFL billionaires, and whether or not the final document includes necessary reforms to bail and other criminal justice statutes — Gov. Hochul and the Democratic supermajorities in the state Senate and Assembly have already done a real disservice to more than 60,000 people who perform difficult and necessary work in state facilities such as prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

These 62,000 folks on the institutional payroll should be getting their bi-weekly direct deposit checks today. Some of them may not, and it’s entirely the fault of Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. On the cusp of baseball season, we ask: Can anybody here play this game?

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, by no means any kind of enemy of Hochul or the Senate majority or the Assembly Democrats (he was a fellow assemblyman for a long time) warned everyone in a public notice on March 18, two weeks before the April 1 constitutional deadline for a new fiscal year, that paychecks could be at risk.

He even gave them an easy backup plan in case the April 1 date was blown and the budget would be late. All that was needed was for a bill extending state spending to be passed by both houses and signed into law by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 4. If the lawmakers could make that deadline, four days after their legal deadline, DiNapoli could still approve the payroll in time for every bank to clear the payments and issue their direct deposits on schedule.

They didn’t pass the extender bill until well after 4 p.m. Out the window went the certainty that everyone would get paid. So now it is hit or miss if the money shows or doesn’t. If those hardworking people have trouble making their rent or mortgage or credit card bills due to the two-week lag, they know who to blame.


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