Dysfunction in Albany
March 31st, 2009

The budget is going to be late. Republicans did not show up to session this morning. They have since come out of conference with Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos but now word is that they will not vote on any budget bills that have not aged the required three days.

A few budget bills were filed on Sunday and technically won’t have aged 3 days until early Wednesday. The Assembly is currently considering budget legislation and will likely pass all 9 bills today.

If Senate Republicans weren’t blocking the budget vote, Democrats would still have a problem: Democratic Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson is ill and has been taken to Albany Medical Center for evaluation. Without Hassell-Thompson the Democrats are one vote short of being able to pass budget legislation. * Liz Benjamin is now reporting that Hassell-Thompson will return to the Senate today and session will resume this evening.

The good news is that the three men in a room emerged from a leaders meeting this morning to announce that they are are now focused on coming to a deal to save straphangers from the impending MTA fare increases and service cuts. The problem is that tolling East River Bridges has now been taken off the table. The big three are looking for alternative ways to have drivers pitch in to the solution.

The framework I see is that the Senate has really eliminated what my choice would be, which would be to have the tolls, Gov. David Paterson said. And so if thats the case, then were going to have to try to find alternative ways to come up with several hundred million dollars that would replace what would have been the revenues generated by the tolls.

Paterson said he has no ide when a deal will be reached.

By on March 31, 2009, 2:18 pm
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