Budget brawl brewing in Albany
Buckle up for another Albany show down come Monday, as the rhetoric between the governor and rebel Democratic lawmakers heats up.Gov. David Paterson on Thursday warned that legislators who refuse to approve his emergency spending bill next week will throw the state into “unimaginable chaos” and cause “anarchy literally in the streets” when the government comes to a standstill.
A statewide conference call was held as Paterson’s administration on Thursday began preparing state agencies for a shutdown that could begin as early as Monday at midnight.
Some of the services that could be stopped include safety inspections, lottery games, parks and campgrounds, courts and unemployment offices.
Meanwhile, a rogue band of Democrats pledged to buck their party and side with the Republicans on Monday, when Paterson is expected to propose the second of his emergency spending bills, this time containing some $300 million in cuts to mental hygiene and human services programs.
“I’m voting ‘no’ on Monday,” Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. said. “So one of three things will happen Monday: They will have to do something, have a budget; Republicans are going to eat their pride and vote ‘yes’; or the government will shut down.”
With a budget agreement more than two months late, Paterson has been trying a piecemeal approach to bridge the state’s $9.2 billion deficit. He rammed through an extension bill this week that slashed more than $750 million to health care programs.