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Budget will boost aid to schools by a billion dollars

The state budget will increase education aid by about $1 billion, a 3.7 percent increase.

That’s less than what state lawmakers had sought, and about $50 million above Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial spending proposal in January.

Both the Assembly and Senate wanted a $1.5 billion spending hike for schools. But lawmakers have also expressed some relief that given the slack revenue for New York in recent months that the spending increase wasn’t lower.

Cuomo divulged the spending figure at a late afternoon Red Room news conference on Friday as major issues remain unresolved in the state budget, including creating a system of publicly financed campaigns and ending cash bail for many charges.

Cuomo said a stumbling block remains ending cash bail for violent felonies, confirming Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s comments earlier in the day to reporters.

“There is conceptual disagreement on violent felonies and how to handle that and that’s where we are now stuck on that, I would say,” Cuomo said.

Also at the press conference:

-Cuomo’s top counsel confirmed there was a movement toward an agreement to strengthen insurance and safety regulations for limousines as well as increased penalties for violating existing laws, a move that comes after a deadly crash in October that killed 20 people in Schoharie.

-He reiterated there would not be a deal on the budget without a permanent cap on property tax increases.

-Marijuana legalization was officially kicked out of the budget. Again. Cuomo said the issue will be re-addressed after the spending plan passes.

-Mayoral control of New York City schools will be part of the budget, with some changes.

Read more from the NY State of Politics Blog