Paterson May Present "Menu of Cuts"
October 7th, 2009

Gov. David Paterson told the Albany Times Union yesterday that he is willing to get tough if the legislature does not come to an agreement on how to cut the budget. The state faces at least a $2.1 billion gap.

Paterson said if a deal isn’t reached fast enough for his liking he will present a plan and call the legislature into special session. Paterson didn’t say how long he plans to give the legislature.

Paterson has been criticized for not presenting a plan for the legislature to consider. Paterson told the TU that the Senate and Assembly, “are going to need a menu of cuts to make. I’m letting them participate in formulating that menu. And if they don’t come up with one quickly enough, I’ll provide it myself.” Paterson’s message followed the announcement that he would cut agency spending by $500 million this year.

The TU questioned whether Paterson was giving up a bargaining chip by making the cuts before negotiations over budget cuts are completed.

“I’m not as much negotiating as much as I’m trying to set an example,” Paterson told the paper.

What kind of time line is Paterson operating under?

Budget director Robert Megna told reporters yesterday, “I think we want to try to use the month of October to work collaboratively with the legislature. You know, no dates have been set in stone, and we continue to try to work with legislative staff to come to some agreement to solve the remaining part of the problem.

Megna said his boss would go it alone if necessary. “We want something the legislature can feel comfortable in implementing, but I must tell you that if the legislature does not get to the point that they can provide solutions, the governor will, you know, take his position as leader of the state seriously and provide a plan to eliminate the gap. Right now we are working collaboratively to try to come up with a joint plan.”

By on October 7, 2009, 11:05 am
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