After waiting fruitlessly for leaders in the State Senate and Assembly to provide plans for massive budget cuts to stave off a potential $16 billion deficit, David Paterson is now facing defeat on his own multi-billion snip. Paterson told the Times yesterday that he would seek cuts in Medicaid and midyear reductions to school aid. Both are very unpopular with lawmakers, who are tightly allied with rich hospital and teachers’ unions. “There’ll be protests, and because of the drastic nature of the cuts,” Paterson told the paper. “Those who protest will have very valid points, for which I don’t have any answer, other than ‘What’s your idea?’” But Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver, the state’s Dictator of Delay, hasn’t put forth any. And neither has Republican Senate Majority Dean Skelos, who has even more reason not to: If he stalls until the Democrats take over in January, they’ll take all the blame for any unpopular cuts. According to the Post, Silver won’t agree to any cuts unless the Senate is onboard as well. With the added wild-card factor of a rogue Senate faction of three Democratic senators who are refusing to caucus with their party, you’ve got a lot of obstacles to getting anything done to solve the budget crisis.
This is where David Paterson’s unique charm capabilities will surely come in handy. If anybody can hug it out, it’s the Cuddle Guv.
Paterson Says School and Medicaid Face Buts [NYT]
POLS POISED TO BUST PATERSON’S BUDGET CHOPS [NYP]