Plenty of Finger-Pointing But Still No Budget Deal in Albany

Meanwhile the governor is prepping for the worst

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    ALBANY, NY - MARCH 16: The New York State Capitol building is seen March 16, 2008 in Albany, New York. New York State Lt. Gov. David Paterson will be sworn in here on March 17, replacing Gov. Eliot Spitzer who resigned last week in a prostitution scandal.(Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

     A day after the latest missed deadline to act on a worsening $3.2 billion deficit, New York lawmakers found no agreement, but several ways to blame each other for inaction.

    Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson says he will soon begin planning how to deal with the worst case scenario of no deal at all. He says he's hoping to avoid the borrowing, credit ratings damage and extreme measures such as selling off assets, if a deal isn't struck so New York can pay its December bills.

    Democratic senators blamed Republican senators who were brought into closed-door negotiations Tuesday night. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada also called the Democratic governor the main obstacle to a deal.

    Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson promised a budget deal in the "immediate future."
     

    "We are not gonna commit governmental malpractice," said Sampson who made the comments at an unrelated news conference about public authorities reform.
      
    The governor said while it is possible a deal would be reached tomorrow, he made no promises.

    "I would not put a timeline on this kind of negotiation.  Numerically we are probably not far apart in terms of the numbers," Paterson said.    

    The governor said he is sticking by his demand that lawmakers come up with recurring spending cuts -- not one shot gimmicks.  

     
    The State faces a deficit of $3-4 billion now, but that shortfallt could rise as high as $30 billion ver the next three years.   A sign that negotiations are progressing might be that Paterson dropped his tough threats to lock lawmakers in the Capitol until a deal is reached. 

    "I'm not gonna make any long term threats," Paterson said.  This was a shift from 24 hours prior, when Paterson told lawmakers to "stop making plans" because they wouldn't be going anywhere