Citing a lack of firm details, Senate Republicans rejected funding for the governor's proposed regional economic development councils, an idea that the region's lawmakers had praised.
"We don't have a lot of information on how they would operate or who they would be comprised of," said Mark Hansen, a spokesman for the Senate GOP. "We'll be discussing the budget with the governor as we go along."
Senate Democrats, on the other hand, condemned the move.
"The economic councils that Senate Republicans eliminated represent the new, forward thinking vision Governor Cuomo has brought to Albany," Senate Democratic conference spokesman Travis Proulx said in an e-mail. "It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility for Senate Republicans to reject the governor's plan without offering any alternatives to bolster the economy in Upstate New York."
The governor in his budget proposed slicing the state up into 10 regions. Councils in the regions would dole out economic development funds, including $130.6 million from the 2011-2012 budget.
Editorials and lawmakers heaped praise on the move — while reserving some ire for how the map itself was drawn — saying that the regional councils would be better able to tailor economic development funds for the needs of specific regions.
But Senate Republicans did not include the $130.6 million in funds in their one-house budget that passed Wednesday. The budget is a starting point for negotiations among the Senate, Assembly and governor. The final budget is due on April 1.
The spokesman for Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, a Republican of Heuvelton who had previously praised the idea behind the regional council, said the idea wasn't dead.
"The governor really never gave them a detailed proposal on how economic development councils would work," James E. Reagen said. "The Senate figures that they'll be negotiating and finding out the details on how it worked."
Mr. Hansen, the GOP spokesman, said the conference had put together a budget that satisfied its priorities, including restoring funds to public schools in rural districts that had seen a disproportionate hit.
"As far as the regional economic development councils, we'll continue to discuss those with the governor and see more details," he said.