Governor Paterson is predicting a surprise revolt during Tuesday's school board elections.
"People will be very surprised when the public, not the legislature, not the Governor, but the public votes down those plans, saying, 'you can't spend money you don't have,'" Paterson said.
The Governor predicted the school budget smackdown after NBCNewYork asked him what might change to force state leaders to pass a State budget?
Paterson believes New Yorkers will vote "No" to paying higher property taxes to support school spending levels. Counties across the state will present plans to raise taxes on May 18th. For instance, in Bronxville, the proposed school budget is more than $43 million dollars, and in Harrison it's more than $101 million.
Ordinarily, voters pass more than 90 percent of the State's school board budgets, but Paterson administration insiders anticipate the number will be far fewer this year -- echoing what happened in New Jersey last month.
But Paterson said the revolt could finally force lawmakers to wake up and deal with the late State budget. The Governor's remarks came after the opening of a new section of Hudson River Park today. Paterson noted the irony of opening this beautiful new park on the same day he closed 41 other parks because the state is facing insolvency. "It kills me," Paterson said.
Paterson also declined to discuss reports that he's considering tearing up his no-layoff pledge with the state employee unions, saying only that he was still hopeful the court would approve furloughs. Paterson said he prefers furloughs to layoffs: "The collective sacrifice of the many is better than the unemployment of the few."
Paterson administration source tells NBCNewYork that the Governor has invited the four leaders of the Assembly and Senate to a public budget meeting Tuesday morning at 11am.
So far, the Senate's Democratic conference leader is the only one who has agreed to come. The New York State budget is now 47 days late.