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State budget negotiations continue

Mar 26, 2012 4:17 pm
Jon Campbell and Joseph Spector report at LoHud.com the April 1 state budget deadline looms but several "sticking points remain" between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislators. Key issues include: education, the hydrofracking health study and mandate relief. Cuomo's proposed budget set aside $250 million for a competitive school performance grant program. The Senate and Assembly agreed to reduce that program by $200 million and allocated those funds for distribution to the state's 700 school districts as regular school aid. The legislators' proposal leaves $50 million for competitive grants, but the "conference committees might do a little more in competitive grants," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Assembly and Senate Democrats are pushing to have funding set aside to underwrite a study of the impact of high-volume hydraulic fracturing on human health. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is considering a proposal to allow hydrofracking at locations throughout New York. Negotiations are also ongoing over the governor's proposal to begin the phased-in state takeover of Medicaid costs, now shouldered by local governments. While the governor's plan sets the phase-in to begin during the 2013-14 fiscal year, Senate Republicans hope to launch the program April 1. The measure could save counties and New York City $1.2 billion over five years. Read the full story at LoHud.com.