No Deal: Budget Talks Drag on in Albany

Paterson's plan slashes millions from schools around the state

By Melissa Russo
|  Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009  |  Updated 6:46 AM EDT
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No Deal: Budget Talks Drag on in Albany

Paterson has said he will continue to compel the Legislature back to Albany until it approves spending cuts and any new revenue sources or "stands up'' to vote his proposal down.

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Talks on a deficit reduction plan in Albany failed Monday, leaving State Senators frustrated and stuck in the State Capitol.

Gov. David Paterson, who had sought legislative action on a $3.2 billion deficit for weeks, also said he doesn't expect any action Tuesday, either. That is the latest target date to nail down the budget.
 
During the special session, Senator Liz Krueger, Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance committee said the Senate Democrats (who control the Senate) have NO intention of making mid-year cuts in school aid.
 
Paterson says lawmakers must pass a plan to trim more than $3 billion in spending before the state runs out of cash in the next few weeks. 
 
Paterson's plan, presented a month ago, would cut $480 million in aid to school counties throughout the State.
 
Given that New York State spends more on schools than almost anything else, fiscal analysts say it's hard to imagine cutting more than $3 billion from the state budget without cutting school aid. 
 
"We are fighting for a better deficit reduction plan," said Senator Eric Schneiderman. "It is not coming easy."
 
Testy Senators made it clear this afternoon they are not happy about being in Albany.
 
"What are we doing here?" asked Sen. Ruben Diaz.  "Let's stop the farce. Stop the mockery.  We are not doing nothing." 
 
The members challenged each other to say in public what they ARE willing to cut and as of 6:53 p.m. Monday night couldn't even agree on what else they would vote on -- if not a deficit plan --  leaving one member to say: "The more we go back and forth, the more we embarrass ourselves."

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