No state budget yet, and Paterson says he'll withhold union raises
Gov. David Paterson plans to withhold funding for union raises in his next emergency budget act, which effectively suspends a 4-percent raise for the state's union workers.
The raise was part of a contract negotiated in 2007, but with a $9 billion budget deficit, Paterson says the state can't afford the extra expense.
“I am just shocked and amazed that every time you ask the special interests or the unions for some kind of sacrifice that the answer is either ‘no’ or ‘I’m going to sue you,’” Paterson said Thursday after a private meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “The state has run out of money twice, for the first time in its history, in the last four months. We’re doing everything to keep the ship afloat. And some people are just very reticent or unable to recognize the gravity of the crisis.”
Meanwhile, Albany has yet to approve a new budget. Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued the following statement on the situation:
After another week of inaction, and seven days past the due date, the 2010-2011 State Budget has not passed. Instead, the Majority continues to meet behind closed doors, which will likely lead to new taxes, increased government spending, and worst of all, more state borrowing, while sending the rank-and-file members of the Assembly trivial legislation to vote on. With New York State nearly bankrupt, this kind of inaction is unacceptable. We should have been in session last week, and not passing the budget this week only wasted more taxpayer money at a cost of more than $100,000. I am willing to stay in Albany until the budget crisis is solved. Unfortunately, it appears that my colleagues in the Majority are not, and despite the ensuing fiscal crisis, would rather put the budget off until next week, if not next month. Clearly, this year’s budget process shows how broken New York state government really is.