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Some progress on budget, still no agreement

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Albany/HV: Some progress on budget, still no agreement
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With the April first budget deadline looming, legislative leaders say they haven't yet come to an agreement on a spending plan for the state. After meeting for nearly two hours Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says there's been progress, but there's still no an agreement. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has a check of where we stand.

NEW YORK STATE -- State lawmakers negotiating the budget behind closed-doors with Governor Andrew Cuomo insist that Everything is going fine in those talks.

"You look how much I love Shelly," said Dean Skelos, (R) Senate GOP Leader.

The love fest following the meetings with Cuomo on Tuesday masked some of the more contentious issues the governor and legislative leaders are trying to work through, including a plan that would freeze local property tax increases. Cuomo has called his proposal a priority, but indicated he doesn't want to hold up a budget deal in order to get his way on it.

Governor Cuomo said, "I'm proud of the on-time budgets, but it's about a good budget most importantly and that's what we're going to have."

Cuomo may also be interested in making some modifications to the freeze proposal, which is designed to push local governments into capping property tax increases and then find cost savings through shared services. Cuomo is open to a look-back period for the property tax freeze for municipalities that have already capped levies and cut spending.

"I think there's a desire on our part, I think there's a desire on the Senate's part and I think the governor might consider it fair to a certain extent," said Sheldon Silver, (D) Assembly Speaker.

State leaders, however, are close to an agreement on spending $300 million for pre-Kindergarten programs for New York City, with other districts receiving aid as long as they demonstrate willingness for pre-K in their area.

Gov. Cuomo added, "New York City's been very aggressive in saying they want to move quickly and they think they would need about $300 million to bring it online quickly. We'll have the money available, but the actual result will be up to the local governments to see how quickly they would move."

More contentious proposals such as allowing prison inmates access to college courses are not being discussed in the budget meeting. A spending plan is due by Monday. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP