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Gov. David Paterson promised more fiscal brinksmanship a day after New York's Legislature averted an unprecedented shutdown of state government by adopting some of his budget cuts.
Paterson planned to offer budget legislation this week that would help close a multibillion dollar deficit by cutting spending for public safety, economic development and transportation. It would cut about $100 million, spokesman Morgan Hook said.
If lawmakers fail to pass the bills, Paterson said Tuesday he'll submit them again as part of his next emergency spending bill on Friday, which the Legislature would vote on next week. Those weekly bills have been used keep government running in the absence of a budget since April 1.
That leaves lawmakers with three alternatives: negotiate budget provisions, approve the emergency bill or risk idling state workers and suspending nonessential services.
"They can come and pass them or they'll see them in the extender next week," Paterson said.
With some parts of the budget already settled that way, including provisions for state parks, the Environmental Protection Fund, health care and social services, the governor and legislators over the past two weeks have been moving toward a conclusion that has evaded them for the previous eight weeks.
Speaking on WCNY radio Tuesday, Paterson said he and lawmakers remained $1.6 billion apart on cuts or other measures to close the remaining deficit. The adminstration initially projected an overall $9.2 billion deficit in a overall budget of about $130 billion.
Paterson repeated Tuesday that borrowing would only be a last resort, that he might reconsider state worker layoffs this calendar year, and that tax enforcement on Indian cigarettes would produce only about $200 million in state revenue. He has also proposed increased cigarette taxes and a new tax on soda.
"He's slowly passing the budget by giving us pieces," said Sen. Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican. He said contractors want to get paid and schools want to settle their budgets, and the Senate's Republican minority remains opposed to new taxes or borrowing to close the remaining gap.
"If he's planning to bring us to closure, we need closure," Libous said. "Talking to people in my district, the No. 1 thing is no more new taxes."