Albany, NY, Jul 08, 2010 — Governor David Paterson vetoed nearly 6,700 spending proposals passed last week by the state legislature. As Karen DeWitt reports, the Governor's actions slashed more than $500 million from the state budget.
Several aides to the governor trudged up and down the stairs
in the Capitol, their arms laden with stacks of documents two feet high as they
delivered the veto messages to the Senate and Assembly. The governor had spent 7 hours over a two-day period personally initialing or
signing every single veto--and even provided a live web stream. Morgan Hook, Paterson's communications
director, says the dramatic signing was not a negotiating tactic.
"He is not negotiating on these vetoes," said Hook. "They have been delivered,
at this point, to the legislature."
The $525 million in vetoes includes $419 million in school aid, several million
in additional funding to colleges, universities and student aid programs, and
numerous individual member items requested by state lawmakers for their
districts. Among them are money for museums, libraries and civic
wants the legislature to approve a contingency plan if some federal Medicaid
monies, known as FMAP, don't materialize. He also hopes for a new plan for
setting tuition at SUNY and CUNY and a property tax cap. His spokesman says the
legislature should act on those items because they represent a responsible
fiscal choice, not in the hopes of receiving some member items.
The Senate also needs to finish the final budget bill before the spending plan
can be declared complete. No time has been set for a return. Until then, state
lawmakers will not receive their paychecks which have been withheld since the budget deadline was
missed on April 1. Hook says that while the governor does not yet plan to
call a special session to force the Senate to complete its work, he may do so in
Leaders of the legislature say they are "disappointed." Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver in a statement says the governor "chose to renege on funding
commitments" for groups that care for the children, elderly and crime victims
and did not spare the schools from "devastating cuts."