Special Budget Vote Off; Dems, Reps Accuse Each Other of Bad Faith
The special legislative session with which Governor Paterson hoped to make quick cuts in the state budget has been cancelled, as the Governor felt the current, Republican state senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, was not seriously engaged in the process, says the New York Times. While the Governor pushed in a meeting with top legislators for the $2 billion in cuts he had earlier proposed, Skelos' counterproposals were described by the New York Times as "adding video slot machines at the Belmont Park racetrack and focusing on economic development to spur more growth and tax revenue," and accessing the state's "rainy-day fund," which the Governor called a "charade."
Skelos, for his part, accused the Governor of canceling the vote to protect Democrats, particularly in Sheldon Silver's Assembly, from having to declare themselves in favor of cuts opposed by various constituent groups and unions, particularly those in health and education. "Paterson himself had the pained look of a promising student who first dazzles his teacher and then flunks his big exam," said the New York Post's Fred Dicker.
Further cuts will probably have to wait till the formal session next year, when Malcolm Smith may or may not lead the state senate.