ALBANY, N.Y. -- As Governor Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly work out the details of a $168 billion spending plan Monday, the governor's Democratic primary opponent was just steps from the Capitol to criticize the potential deal.
"In New York City, he puts on an entire Broadway show to parade around as a progressive Democrat leading the resistance, but in Albany, he is definitely handing power over to the party of Donald Trump," said actor and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon.
Nixon rallied with members of the Alliance for Quality Education, calling for a $1.5 billion increase in aid for schools. Nixon not only ripped into Cuomo's working relationship with Republicans in the Senate, but also his personality.
"We've all seen it. Andrew the bully," Nixon said. "He bullies other elected officials. He bullies anyone who criticizes him. He even bullies the media with his reference to your small questions. But worst of all, his budgets bully our children."
Up the hill at the Capitol, lawmakers appeared close to striking a deal on the budget, scheduled to pass this week.
"Trying to lock things down now, and if Senator [John] Flanagan comes out and gives a thumbs up, then things I think can proceed in a very hasty fashion," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
But a number of issues have fallen out of the talks, including criminal justice reform and gun control legislation. Lawmakers were still negotiating changes to sexual harassment policies for state government, but sticking points arose Monday over defining and prohibiting gender discrimination.
"It just seems like things on the major issues are moving, and many, if not all, of the policy issues are coming out," said Sen. John DeFrancisco (R - Syracuse), who has also launched a gubernatorial campaign.
Advocates for a bill known as the Child Victims Act also rallied at the Capitol to save the provision. The bill would make it easier for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits. But Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says the measure is out of the talks.
Meanwhile, local governments are pushing to save a tax on third-party Internet sales in the budget. Republicans are trying to remove the fee and other tax hikes in the plan.