Northern New York Newspapers
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Wed., Jun. 3
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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All too familiar

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New York Gov. David A. Paterson gave the Legislature a chance to reduce the state's $315 million budget deficit in special session Monday.

That session resulted mainly in finger-pointing, the Associated Press reported.

Senate Democrats accused Gov. Paterson of presenting a bill for negotiation two hours after the session was to begin. Senate Republicans complained that they were excluded from the process. When the Senate refused to act, there was no need for the Assembly to stir.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned that New York would be in worse fiscal shape in January if the Legislature did nothing to reduce the deficit now.

"While Senate Democrats were prepared to take action to bring New York's budget into balance, the governor failed to submit legislation in time for thoughtful consideration and review," said Austin Shafran, spokesman for the Senate's Democratic majority.

Senate Republicans judged the decision an "irresponsible lack of action that will only push the state's budget problems to another day."

"We were ready to act today to cut spending, but we were excluded from negotiations," said Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos.

"I called it as much to clear my conscience as anything else," Gov. Paterson told reporters. "I just thought it was my responsibility to at least present to the Legislature the opportunity to reduce the debt and give the next governor and the next Legislature a level playing field."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reasoned that the Legislature can address the deficit in January, when it works on its 2011-2012 budget. He figures the deficit will be about $9 billion to $10 billion then.

This all sounds very familiar. Postpone the decision for another time as New York's fiscal situation grows worse by the day.

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