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State budget passed on time for second year in a row

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Albany/HV: State budget passed on time for second year in a row
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The state legislature has passed this year's budget two days before the deadline. Lawmakers reached a deal on the $132.5 billion budget on Tuesday. The budget was due by midnight Saturday. YNN's Zack Fink has more.

NEW YORK STATE -- Lawmakers were in their respective chambers early Friday to begin voting on the seven remaining bills that comprise the next state budget. Three bills had already been passed on Wednesday.

New York State, known for its chronically late budgets for at least the last 30 years, has now had on-time budgets for two years in a row.

"This budget is a very good and strong budget. As a matter of fact, it's more than just a budget. When I outlined the budget, I said this was more of a reform plan than a budget," Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo pointed to teacher evaluations as one of those reforms. The evaluations were tied to a four percent increase in school aid funding. That was originally part of the governor's executive budget, but legislators wound up voting for that and several other issues separately in all night sessions earlier this month.

"This is truly historic that we passed two budgets in row not just on time but early. In the daylight. And the fact that we are doing this without raising any taxes or fees."

The budget includes an increase in funding for SUNY and CUNY community colleges. And a 10 percent increase in public assistance grants, both of which were priorities for the assembly speaker.

"We began the year by calling on the state to rebuild the ladder to financial security. Long relied on by working families. In this agreement, I am pleased to say that we keep that promise," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Members of the Brooklyn delegation are claiming victory, after a last minute deal to keep funding in the budget that will allow Kingsboro Psychiatric Center to remain open. It had been slated for closure.

"I think the second floor heard us loud and clear. They understood how important this issue was. Level heads prevailed. And we were able to save this institution," said State Senator Eric Adams.

The fight over Kingsboro also roped in members of the Staten Island delegation who objected to bringing patients there when Kingsboro closed. There is still no long term solution for the facility.

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