State budget deal at the deadline, $15 minimum wage part of the deal -- but upstate on separate schedule, another record year for CDTA, first in line at 5:30 am

State budget deal
Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday night that his administration and legislative leaders had a reached a deal on the state budget, just a few hours before the midnight deadline. Both houses of the legislature were working on passing the budget bills into the night and earlier morning hours of Friday (with plans to finish up today), prompting complaints the process has been rushed. [TU] [Politico NY] [NYT]

Among the major provisions of the budget package: a paid family leave system starting in 2018, an eventual increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a tax cut for households making between $40k-$300k, and increased education funding. [Politico NY] [AP/Troy Record]

$15 minimum wage
The part of the deal getting the most attention is the planned increase in the minimum wage, which is set to go as follows (the current minimum wage is $9):
+ New York City's minimum wage will increase each year until reaching $15 on the last day of 2018. (Businesses with 10 or fewer employees will have until the end of 2019.)
+ In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage will reach $15 by the last day of 2021.
+ For the rest of the state the minimum wage will increase by 70 cents per year until reaching $12.50 an hour on the last day of 2020. After that the minimum wage will continue to increase toward $15 according to a schedule set by state budget director based on economic conditions

The separate schedules for NYC, the Long Island/Westechester, and upstate were part of a compromise between Cuomo and the state Senate Republican majority. Said Cuomo of the upstate schedule for increasing the minimum wage: "If the economy turns, we'll have the ability to suspend the minimum wage so we don't hurt a slowing economy ... We believe the increase in the minimum wage can help the upstate economy, but again, it's all about that calibration and this is the smartest, safest way to go about it in my opinion." [NYDN] [TWCN]

The upstate schedule appeared to irk both supporters and opponents of the minimum wage increase. [Citizen Action] [Unshackle Upstate]

LEAD
The city of Albany has officially launched the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, aimed at diverting people arrested for low-level crimes away from jail and into rehab and treatment services. [TU]

Dontay Ivy
Family and friends of Dontay Ivy held a party in Arbor Hill Thursday to commemorate what would have been his 40th birthday. [News10]

Schenectady casino
Rush Street Gaming has paid the $50 million licensing fee for the Rivers Casino and Resort project at Mohawk Harbor -- the city and county of Schenectady will each be getting $2.5 million of that. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

CDTA
CDTA says it will break another annual ridership record for the fiscal year that ended Thursday, with more than 17 million boardings. The transit org is looking to implement its new Navigator fare system (which will include the ability to pay by mobile phone) -- and possibly get involved with local taxi service,/a>. [Daily Gazette] [TU+]

Watervliet settles with former city employee
The city of Watervliet has
settled a federal civil rights suit filed by former deputy general manager Rosemary Nichols for $300k -- Nichols had claimed the city retaliated against her for her opposition to the St. Patrick's demolition. [TU]

Opposition to natural gas pipeline
An public forum in Castleton aimed at opposing the Kinder Morgan natural pipeline in Rensselaer County drew about 400 people Thursday. [TU]

New head of CEG
The next head of the Center for Economic Growth will be Andrew Kennedy, who's currently deputy director of operations in the Cuomo admin and has worked on economic development issues. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Yates Mansion
Fannie Mae is getting the Yates Mansion in Glenville ready to be sold. [Daily Gazette]

Philosopy at Eggy's
Taking in some of the wit and wisdom at Eggy's in Albany. [TU+]

Jumpin' Jack's
The first person in line for the 11 am season opening of Jumpin' Jack's on Thursday had gotten there at 5:30 am. [Daily Gazette]

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I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

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