Governor Paterson Proposes Piecemeal Budget Extenders

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New York Governor David Paterson is releasing his next round of cuts in several budget bills, saying he hopes to avoid another down-to-the-wire showdown with New York's lawmakers over next week's emergency spending bill.

New York's Legislature on Monday averted a government shutdown by adopting some of his budget cuts. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 27 because a few Republican crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats.

Paterson says he will offer bills this week that would trim $100 million from public safety, economic development and transportation. This is part of a plan to close a $9.2 billion deficit. If lawmakers reject the bills, he'll submit the cuts as part of next week's emergency extenders.

Paterson told reporters in a conference call Monday that he may have to put education cuts in future emergency extenders, but he’s hoping a budget agreement is reached before he has to do that. He may also move up the timeline for state worker layoffs.

“It's scheduled to begin January 2011, and the more I think about it, I don't want it on my conscience that I created a layoff plan for the next governor. I think you have to step up and do it yourself,” Paterson says.

The governor says he'll wait to see what response he gets to an early retirement offer first, before considering layoffs.

Senator Hugh Farley, who represents Schenectady, says he won't be voting for another extender. Paterson says he'll regret that.

"If he doesn't vote for it on Monday, he and the others who shut down the government will be know as 'Senator Shutdown,'" Paterson says.

Paterson says if lawmakers fail to pass his latest bills, he'll submit them again as part of his next emergency funding bill. The cuts could once again put the state on the verge of a shutdown. The governor says he's considering putting education cuts and his controversial tax on sugary soft drinks in future budget extenders, if a budget deal isn't reached soon.

The state budget is now more than 10 weeks overdue. If the legislature fails to pass each extender, then the state government will shut down.

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