NY Senate shelves last budget item until after July 4

(AP) - New York's Senate gave another twist to theongoing budget battle by shelving the final budget bill hoursbefore it was to be considered and putting off further action untilafter the July 4 holiday.

Senate Democratic leader John Sampson says he now agrees withGov. David Paterson that the state needs a contingency plan in case$1 billion in Medicaid funding never comes from Washington.

Sampson denied that he pulled the revenue bill because as manyas three Democrats threatened to vote against it, defeating thelast bill needed to close the budget now three months late.

The members have demanded action on a bill to allow publicuniversities in their districts to set their own higher tuitionrates, a proposal supporters say would allow them to growunfettered by Albany.

"It's not a question of folding," Sampson said. "My membershave a concern ... New Yorkers can expect a budget relativelysoon."

Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat, wouldn't say why he was suspendingthe final budget vote now, after ignoring Paterson's earlier callsfor a Medicaid contingency plan, a public universities plan, and aproperty tax cap. He named each of those items as issues he plansto negotiate with Paterson and Democratic Assembly Speaker SheldonSilver before the budget action resumes.

There was no immediate response from the Assembly, which hadplanned to finish its budget bills Thursday and go home for thesummer.

Government will not shut down without the revenue bill. Butlawmakers who have have seen nearly $20,000 in pay delayed sincethe April 1 deadline to pass a budget will have to go longerwithout it as the budget remains open.

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