The Hard Sell
March 30th, 2009

The three men in a room did their best this morning to defend the budget deal they reached behind closed doors. They didn’t get off to a particularly strong start.

“This isn’t about economic sense,” responded Gov. David Paterson when asked about raising taxes on the wealthy during a recession. “There should probably be the question, ‘does it make sense.’ The answer is no, none of this makes sense.”

Paterson continued, “We don’t want to tax the wealthy. We don’t want to put these taxes in the way of fees. We don’t want to hold our school budgets at zero increase at the time that our children need education. We don’t want to in any way hinder anybody’s ability to get healthcare. We don’t want to lay workers off. This is the responsible thing. But if you pick it apart and question one by one, is it a good idea to be cutting these resources? No.”

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos quickly released a statement saying that he agrees with Paterson that the budget makes no sense.

Critics say that another way the budget does not make sense is that it contains $170 million of pork for legislators. The amount of pork spending was not decreased from last year’s number despite the fiscal doom the state faces. Some of the projects funded by the money include a museum dedicated to brick making, the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta and grants to gun clubs.

Just as Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters predicted, the group tried to defend the lack of transparency in budget negotiations by talking about the dire financial crisis the state faces. “I want to make it very clear,” said Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. “In no uncertain terms – is everybody happy with this process? I can’t say yes. I would ask that the public understand that we did the best we could under difficult situations.”

By on March 30, 2009, 1:11 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “The Hard Sell”

  1. Sue French Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 3:57 am

    I can understand some changes in tax rates for the wealthy, and even eliminating the STAR rebates in order to maintain health and education services. However, why are taxpayers taking responsibility for the extras that legislators have been given for their pet projects? Did we vote for them to take our hard earned dollars to put towards special projects, while the economy is almost collapsed? They just don’t get it, do they? We’re fed up, and when their turn to be elected comes up again, they will surely lose. For those who are unemployed, or who become unemployed in the current year, losing the STAR rebate can be the sinker. Legislators still aren’t listening! Get rid of your pet projects, lest we are rid of you by your next term.
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

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