NY State Budget Late Again


paterson-fat-taxNew York’s state budget is late — again. And given that the Legislature and Gov. David Paterson are more than $1 billion apart in their proposals, no quick agreement on the budget is expected. Lawmakers return from their holiday break on April 7.Paterson is already delaying $2 billion in school aid and suspending hundreds of construction projects until the state has enough cash to pay the bills. A huge influx of funds is expected in the next two weeks as New Yorkers pay their income taxes.

The state budget has been late in each of the last three years.

On Sunday, Paterson struck religious themes in radio interviews. He urged lawmakers to honor the Jewish and Christian traditions of self-sacrifice by making unpopular spending cuts that will benefit New Yorkers and future generations.

“We have got to make some tough choices,” Paterson said. “We are not living up to the great sacrifices that our predecessors made so that we would be living in a better place.”

Paterson said the Legislature so far agrees on only about $3.3 billion in cuts compared to his $4.8 billion. The Assembly and Senate don’t agree on Paterson’s tax increases on cigarettes and sugary soda, so the governor says lawmakers aren’t a third of the way to addressing the $9.2 billion deficit in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

“They are talking about borrowing. We should be cutting,” he told WBEN in Buffalo, noting more than $6 billion a year already has to be spent to pay down borrowing dating to the 1990s. “You collapse from the interest payments on what you borrowed more than the borrowing itself … we have to learn you can’t solve fiscal problems by building up debt.”

He refers to the Assembly’s plan to borrow $2 billion, a figured provided by Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch.

Last week, more than a week beyond the due dates, the Legislature presented responses to Paterson’s budget proposal. The Democrat-led Assembly presented a $136.8 billion plan; the Democrat-led Senate presented a $136.1 billion version. Both are responses to Paterson’s January proposal of $134 billion for the 2010-11 budget due Thursday. The current budget is about $131 billion.

{CBS/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}