ALBANY The state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference will add a fifth member Wednesday, a new wrinkle to an already fractured Senate.
Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, plans to join the four-member IDC, which shares power with 29 Republicans in the 63-seat chamber, the IDC confirmed.
The move means that Senate Democrats, who on paper have enough members for a 32-seat majority, is down to 27 members.
It gives the IDC and Republicans added strength as they head into budget negotiations with Assembly Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the fiscal year that starts April 1.
Avella's decision also adds uncertainly to a number of top priorities in Albany this year, such as funding pre-kindergarten programs, providing property-tax relief and approving tuition assistance programs for immigrant students.
The Senate Democrats ripped the move by Avella, which was first reported Wednesday by the Daily News.
All 63 seats in the Senate, as well as all 150 seats in the Democratic-led Assembly, will be on the ballot in November.
"It's unfortunate that progressive policies continue to be stymied because of divisions created by Senators who choose to empower Republicans," Mike Murphy, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, who are led by Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins, D-Yonkers.
The IDC is led by Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who represents parts of lower Westchester County; Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, is also an IDC member.