Gov. David Paterson is calling a meeting with top state legislators to deal with the estimated $3 billion deficit for the current fiscal year. And just a week after saying his budget plan wouldn't include raising taxes, he's thinking about giving the levy on soft drinks another go.
"I promise I will put (the soda tax) back in my budget address and give the Legislature another chance to do it," Paterson said in an interview on WNYC cited by The New York Post. "But you can’t keep voting down the ways to create revenues and then saying you don’t want to make cuts."
The Legislature shut down Paterson's proposal to generate more than $500 million a year with an 18 percent tax on sugary soft drinks, opting instead to impose a massive tax hike on the rich.
The governor made the comment on reviving the fat tax in response to calls from some Democrats demanding he find another way to get cash as opposed to cutting $1 billion from education and healthcare to cut the ballooning deficit.
Paterson says the state doesn't have time to waste and suggested trimming the deficits by $5 billion over two years. His recommendations includes a 4.5 percent cut in school aid that has yet to be sent to districts.
His proposals also include a $120 cut in every grant to college students under the Tuition Assistance Program, less money for hospitals and nursing homes, and some transfers of surpluses from state authorities.
Legislative leaders have refused to provide their own proposals for cuts and have issued statements that they will work with Paterson, without lending support to his proposals.
Among the "painful" cuts called for by Paterson -- $113 million coming from the coffers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- an agency that already received a state bailout earlier this year.