Gov. David Paterson made the rounds of some radio shows today to give an update on where negotiations stand on closing the state’s $3.2 billion budget deficit. Lawmakers were in town for a special session Tuesday, but they left without reaching an agreement. The governor is calling them back Monday and Tuesday.
As the governor said yesterday, he has been having some one-on-one discussions with legislative leaders about where they would be willing to make cuts. He said spoke with Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, and Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, this morning and had a meeting scheduled this afternoon with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
Paterson said the leaders don’t want to talk publicly about what reductions they would agree to before a full deal is made for fear they would be trashed by special-interest groups. Paterson has proposed a number of cuts, and the largest would be in education ($686 million) and health care ($471 million that would result in a $747 million reduction because the state would lose federal matching funds).
“They have started to put real cuts on the table,” the governor said on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter.
Time is of the essence, Paterson said on WXXI’s Capitol Connection with Bob Smith. The state doesn’t have enough cash on hand to pay all of its bills next month, he said.
“When they come back this time, we’re going to have to get it done this time. There’s no other option,” the governor said.
Paterson said there shouldn’t be teacher layoffs or a reduction in student services because of the cuts because most districts have enough money to cover it in their reserve accounts and districts have high administrative costs and could cut from that.