Press-Republican

Local News

June 30, 2010

Paterson: Budget vetoes will continue

ALBANY — Gov. David Paterson said Tuesday that he's ended negotiations with the Legislature over the 6,900 vetoes he promises to make on all additional spending and every pork-barrel grant in the Legislature's budget passed Monday.

"I'm done talking to legislative leaders," Paterson told The Associated Press. "I am not going to operate in this process any more. I am doing the vetoes. As far as I am concerned, this budget process is over."

The comment comes a day after he vetoed the Legislature's budget that he said spends too much, is unbalanced and irresponsible. If he vetoes all the Legislature's changes, the 2010-11 budget will essentially be identical to Paterson's budget proposal made in January.

Paterson's hard line comes as legislative leaders seek to save aspects of their budget that added $600 million to school aid, included some property tax relief and included reappropriation of thousands of so-called member items that provide grants to programs and groups back in their home district.

Senate leader John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat, said he's still pushing Paterson to increase school aid and allow property tax relief.

"Those are very key components to our conference," Sampson said Tuesday. "I will continue our conversations. I will be speaking to the (Assembly) speaker and see ways we can work things out, work out the vetoes. ... I'm the arbitrator, I guess."

Meanwhile, the Assembly and Senate have refused to print Paterson's bills on other topics and confirmation of his judgeship nominations were postponed Tuesday.

"You have to use whatever tools you have to negotiate," Sampson said.

Paterson dismissed the annoyances.

"If they don't believe I am going to sign those vetoes, I will sign them on television."

The Democratic governor said Tuesday that after his vetoes are complete, legislative leaders will have to come to him with solid counter proposals for his policy goals that lawmakers rejected in the budget.

Paterson said legislators need to agree to a contingency fund to prepare for the potential loss of up to $1 million in Medicaid funding from Washington. He also wants to empower the public university system to raise tuition by as much as 8 percent a year for up to four years and evolve into the highest ranks of academics in the nation.

Paterson also said he needs lawmakers to support some form of his local property tax cap, rather than what he called the tax relief "gimmick" in the Legislature's budget proposal.

Paterson said if lawmakers refuse to prepare for a likely loss of Medicaid funding, he will ignore Albany decorum and call them back to balance the budget during the fall campaigns.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said staffs still are trying to negotiate settlements of the vetoes. The final bill, the revenue bill that pays for the programs passed Monday, is scheduled for a vote by late Thursday.

"Once we pass a revenue bill we will take it up in conference and make a determination as to whether we will move to override," Silver said Tuesday.

Silver said he could support a public universities plan if poor children were fully covered by aid. Currently, the Tuition Assistance Program pays for full tuition of New York's poorest students.

But Silver still opposed a Medicaid contingency. He said it "suddenly" was a priority for the governor after the Legislature rejected his proposal to empower the public universities.

The stalemate comes as the Senate Republican minority, which would likely block the two-thirds vote needed in each chamber to override vetoes, said Democrats can't count on their support. But the GOP conference stopped short of committing to block any overrides, despite voting as a bloc against every budget bill Monday.

"Democrats have created an unbalanced budget that includes no relief for property taxpayers and continues to cut the STAR property tax relief program by millions of dollars," said Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of Nassau County.

He said the Democrats created a budget "after a tortured budget process where they violated the budget reform law, negotiated in total secrecy, (and) excluded Republicans."

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Today
Local News

North Country Scenes


Click on photo to view gallery with latest photos

FYI...