Joe Mahoney. New York Daily News. 4/1/2005.
It's no April Fools' joke: New York has an on-time budget for the first time in 21 years. Seeking to shed their image as dawdlers, lawmakers from both houses shook hands yesterday on a $105.4 billion spending plan that will raise $1 billion more in new taxes. The blueprint could grow to $106.9 billion in the weeks ahead as lawmakers add on welfare and environmental measures. That would amount to an overall spending boost of 4.5%. Gov. Pataki gave the budget mixed reviews, saying he's "extremely pleased" it was on time, but noting, "There are gaping holes that have to be closed." As some lawmakers patted themselves on the back for getting the budget done by the legal deadline, Sen. John Sabini (D-Queens) said: "We're doing it because people have held our feet to the fire." Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said the plan is good for public schools, raising classroom aid by $840 million, including a $323 million hike for New York City.