budget mess

Could the Soda Tax Trigger the Breakdown of Society?

If the state legislature fails to pass a budget (which is now over 80 days late) by Monday, Governor Paterson has pledged to put all unresolved issues into one final emergency bill that legislators can reject only if they’re willing to shut down the state government. And Paterson clearly feels as if he has all the leverage. According to a “Paterson insider,” the governor can include “whatever he wants” in the bill, including, perhaps, the penny-per-ounce tax on soda that he’s favored for a long time but which many state senators despise. But what if Paterson makes the bill so unpalatable to legislators that they refuse to pass it, triggering anarchy in the streets?

The Paterson aide said the governor doesn’t fear pushing the lawmakers too far, since they’ve been unable to come up with a plan to close a $9.2 billion deficit for a budget that is now 84 days late.

So, Paterson doesn’t fear pushing lawmakers too far not because he’s confident that it won’t happen, but because he doesn’t think he’ll be blamed if it does. That’s reassuring.

N.Y. Governor Paterson warns Albany lawmakers to reach budget deal by Monday or he’ll do it for them [NYDN]

Could the Soda Tax Trigger the Breakdown of Society?