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      State budget would pay for longer school day, merit pay for top teachers

      The tentative deal for a New York State budget will include expansion of pre-kindergarten in low-income schools, funding to extend the school day and year, and merit pay for top teachers.

      The details are among those starting to surface after Wednesday night's announcement of a budget deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders. The Legislature is expected to approve the budget in coming days.

      Other provisions released Thursday include a new marketing program to promote tourism, produce and other New York-made foods.

      The $135 billion budget deal would also raise the minimum wage to $9, which some advocates for the poor say falls far short of the needs of the working poor.

      The deal also includes $350 tax rebates in 2014 to middle class families with children.