Paterson Pushes to Pass Budget Extenders

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Faced with a revolt from two Democrats, New York Gov. David Paterson on Wednesday challenged Republican Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos to act like a leader and prevent a government shutdown next week.

At a contentious public leaders meeting in Albany, all sides pointed fingers at the others over who is responsible for a budget that is ten weeks overdue.

Paterson said it's up to Senate Republicans to get enough votes to support his emergency budget extenders. He chided Skelos over Republicans' refusal to vote for any of his emergency budget extenders, including the one passed Monday that had deep cuts in health care spending.

"A significant amount of those cuts were in your plan," Paterson said.

"Because we believe that this drip, drip, drip torture every week is not the way you do a budget," Skelos countered.

The last budget extenders with their cuts to health care caused Democratic Sens. Ruben Diaz and Pedro Espada to vow not to vote for the emergency budget bills anymore.

The entire Republican conference has been voting down the measures, forcing Democrats to get every one of their 32 members to vote for the spending bills or risk shutting down state government.

Skelos said Monday his members are prepared to let state government close for "a couple of days," rather than continue passing a budget in a piecemeal fashion.

Skelos accused Democrats of excluding Republicans from negotiations.

Paterson says he doesn't like passing the budget through extenders, but he says he has waited as long as possible before making the move. Lawmakers say a new budget could still be weeks away.

When asked how this possible government shut down will affect New York City, Mayor Bloomberg says "nobody knows" according to the Associated Press. He went on to say that public transit will most likely be fine for a while and though tolls might not be collected, bridges and tunnels would likely remain open.

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH THURSDAY'S NEWS:  Bloomberg says no one really knows how this shut down will affect New York City, but public transit will probably be fine for a while.

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