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N.Y. State Senate Holds Sunday Session To Advance Budget Bill

New York State Capitol in Albany (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

New York State Capitol in Albany (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state lawmakers were expected Sunday to take much of the week to pass the $135 billion budget they negotiated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But the state Senate began advancing legislation in a rare Sunday session.

Cuomo and the Legislature had once predicted the budget would be final March 21, but policy issues bogged down talks. Instead of passing an extraordinarily early budget as they planned, lawmakers now will rush to meet the April 1 deadline a few days early.

The Assembly postponed its tentatively planned Sunday session to Thursday. Several religious holidays in the coming week, including Passover and Easter, complicated scheduling.

The deal was struck last week, but voluminous budget bills that in total are several feet thick had to be printed, and several policy issues like proposed restrictions on the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy were inserted then extracted from the 2013-2014 budget as those talks delayed agreements.

The 2013-14 spending plan would increase state spending just under 2 percent, to about $136 billion. The total is almost $143 billion when federal aid for Superstorm Sandy recovery is included.

On Sunday, the Senate began advancing measures for public protection, transportation and economic development. Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, said lawmakers hoped to have the rest printed by midnight Sunday.

Western sections of upstate New York should be pleased with its economic development boosts, including funds to help keep the Buffalo Bills in their stadium, he said.

Cuomo said the budget holds spending increases under 2 percent in what would be a third consecutive on-time annual spending plan.

Though billed as not raising taxes, it is built on revenues from extending two taxes _ one on millionaires and another on corporate energy bills — which were due to expire. Annual increases in public college tuition also would continue.

The agreement includes increasing the minimum wage to $8 on Jan. 1, $8.75 a year later and $9 a year after that. The current minimum wage is $7.25.

Sen. Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, said the wages are too low, that the $9 wage will be obsolete before it gets there.

The budget also calls for $350 tax rebate checks to be sent to New Yorkers in 2014, an election year. The checks will go to households with at least one child and an income of $40,000 to $300,000.

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