New York Governor Seeks One-time Authority to Keep State Afloat

Tuesday New York Governor David Paterson submitted emergency legislation that would give him authority to cope with the state budget deficit without approval from the legislature.

Paterson , frustrated by a seven-week standoff with lawmakers on measures to close a $3.2 billion deficit, said he will make the cuts needed to balance the budget, preserve the state's credit rating and keep New York afloat.

"The people of New York have waited too long," he told lawmakers in webcast comments. "Cut this budget with me, or I will do it myself."

Although New York Senate Republicans initially had said they would respond to the governor from the Senate floor later in the day, both Republican and Democratic caucuses later left town and said they would not be back until Monday. The legislature would need to approve the bill, Reuters reports.

It was also reported, the proposed bill includes a legislative finding that the state's deficit "presents a genuine danger that the state will lack the funds necessary to make payments as they come due," Mr. Paterson said in a Web address.

The state's "extremely precarious and worsening fiscal situation" necessitates the payment denials that the legislation would allow, he said. Mr. Paterson said Friday that the cuts could involve furloughs and layoffs of state employees, as well as delayed payments to schools, local governments, workers, health care and service providers. Payment reductions would exclude debt service and collective-bargaining obligations, as well as those expenses required under state and federal law.

"I want to make clear that this is not a cash flow problem that can be fixed with one-shorts or creative accounting," Mr. Paterson said. "This is a lack-of-cash crisis that threatens the financial stability of our state. Unless we take action, the state will run out of money."

Mr. Paterson and the legislature have been at loggerheads over how to solve the deficit since the governor submitted a deficit-reduction plan a month ago. He gave the legislature a choice of either passing his original plan or submitting to the one-time cuts. His original plan called for $1.8 billion in spending cuts and $1.2 billion of one-time actions to raise funds, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Paterson said, "If the Legislature is unwilling to endure the criticism and the consequences, I will." He added he just wants lawmakers to do what cash-squeezed New York families have already done at home and "make the hard decisions."

"I understand that many legislators are afraid of the political consequences they will face if they approve this proposal," Paterson said. "But this is in stark contrast with the fiscal reality that faces New York, so we cannot have any political issues here and we certainly can't have the paralysis of these legislators undermining the future of this state."

"The day of reckoning is here," Paterson said, Buffalo News reports.

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