Agree to Disagree
March 19th, 2009

Gov. David Paterson took his fight to pass the Ravitch Plan to the airwaves this morning. Paterson pleaded his case on three stations, charging that the Senate Democrats have “hijacked” the MTA bailout plan, and that the Senate proposal was put together simply to curry public favor. Paterson’s tone has changed significantly comments he made at a press conference on Tuesday, when he said that he thought there had been a “misunderstanding” that lead to the Senate plan.

Later, Paterson hosted a leaders meeting at the Governor’s Mansion that included Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco. It took less than an hour for both Republicans to walk out. Both Republican leaders have consistently decried what they call a secretive budget process. Democrats are quick to note that budget negotiations were one-sided when the Republicans controlled the Senate and the Governor’s Mansion. But as Blair Horner of NYPIRG said yesterday, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats seem far away on agreements on major issues. Smith’s spokesperson, Austin Shafran, said that “the majority leader fully intends to have conference committees,” but “the scheduling hasn’t fully been decided yet.”

“Whether there is a three-way agreement or one house bills it has always been his intention to have them,” Shafran concluded.

It is not clear whether Silver intends to do the same.

Smith told reporters while leaving the meeting, that he is still waiting for accurate financial information from the MTA. Silver and Paterson both support passing something similar to the Ravitch Plan and are none too pleased with the Senate’s stance.

By on March 19, 2009, 5:01 pm
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