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Leaders to meet for state budget talks

ALBANY — The first five-way meeting over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hard-times budget is scheduled in Albany.

Thursday’s meeting will include the Democratic governor, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Republican leader Brian Kolb and Senate Democratic leader John Sampson.

The staffs of rank-and-file lawmakers are also meeting on various aspects of the budget proposal.

The budget is due April 1.

Leaders say they expect to have a deal in place on time and perhaps even earlier than the deadline. Either would be rare for Albany.

Cuomo’s budget proposal totals nearly $133 billion. It would cut spending from the current budget by nearly 3 percent.