A Good Budget Is More Important Than An On-Time One, Cuomo Says

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When it comes to the budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that quality is more important to him than timeliness, hinting that he would force through his proposal if lawmakers can’t come to an agreement with him before the March 31 deadline.

Appearing on public radio’s The Capitol Pressroom, Cuomo said the budget “doesn’t need to be early from my point of view.”

“I would like to see it on time if we can. Most importantly I want to see a good budget,” Cuomo said. “Whether we get it done on time or not is less important to me than whether or not it’s a good budget.”

Cuomo continued:

“I’m insisting on a budget that is good for the people of this state. If it’s on time, it’s on time. If it’s done with the Legislature amicably, it’s done amicably. If it’s done through extenders, it’s done through extenders. What’s most important is it’s a good budget.”

If a budget isn’t passed by April 1, Cuomo could put his own proposals in an emergency budget extender, which would give the Legislature the choice of succumbing to his budget or shutting down state government.

Cuomo said his focus in budget negotiations has been on the creation of a $15 billion infrastructure fund, which would include both state and private investment. He has also pushed for $1 billion in state investment in the city of Buffalo, which lost 10 percent of its population from 2000 to 2010, according to census figures.

When it comes to setting up a health care exchange to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act — which Senate Republicans have balked at — Cuomo said he would have more to say as the budget process draws to a close.

“It is very important to get a health exchange,” Cuomo said. “I’m working very hard to get the Legislature to pass it. There are other options if they are unwilling to pass it, and I am exploring all options.”

(Mike Groll / AP Photo)

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