Paterson’s Weekend: Bad For Budget, Good for Velazquez

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Governor David Paterson, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver met this weekend in an effort to reach a budget agreement before an emergency legislative session on Tuesday. The goal, set by Paterson, was to trim $2 billion from next year’s spending agenda. Though Paterson said that Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly and Democrats in the Senate were onboard, Senate Republicans refused to compromise. “It was clear from the meeting that Majority Leader Skelos has not changed his position,” Mr. Paterson said, according to the Times. Skelos says that he wants to wait to see Paterson’s proposals for the next year, which dovetails nicely with the Republicans’ hopes to delay voting until Democrats take control of the Senate in January so that any severe cuts can be blamed on them. That puts Skelos in the truly unique position of dragging his feet even more than Silver, Albany’s own Dictator of Delay.

But it wasn’t bad news for everyone in New York politics over the weekend. As President-elect Obama scrutinizes Hillary Clinton even more thoroughly for the position of Secretary of State, a Paterson aide told the Daily News’s Elizabeth Benjamin that U.S. Representative Nydia Velasquez is a front-runner to replace her in the Senate. “She’s a woman and a Latina and therefore a home run,” an ally to the governor said. “They think she’s a twofer!” the aide added, using exactly the kind of language that’s really going to win over those women and Latinos.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez is front-runner for Senate seat if Hillary takes Cabinet job [NYDN]
Paterson and Top 2 Legislators Fail to Agree on Cuts [NYT]