Round up of blogger reaction to state budget
Albany Watch reports on Gov. Paterson defending the "three men in a room" budget:
“None of this makes sense,” he said when asked if the new taxes and fees make sense in the face of the state’s economic woes. “We don’t want to tax the wealthy, we don’t put these taxes in to raise fees, we don’t want to hold our school budgets at zero increase at a time when our children need education. We don’t want to in any way jeopardize anyone’s ability to get health care.
“We don’t want to lay workers off. It’s a response to a crisis.”
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, said “this is not a happy budget” and defended the need to negotiate the budget behind closed doors, saying “Difficult times call for different approaches” but that transparency is still important.
Elizabeth Benjamin, blogging for The Daily News, also carries a portion of Paterson's defense of the budget.
The governor started out by arguing it's unfair to characterize this budget as dramatically increasing spending because the bulk of the additional cash going out the door - about $7.2 billion - is federal stimulus aid.
The only reason state spending isn't being reduced, Paterson maintained, is due to increased allocations for things like Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment insurance - all going up as a result of the economic crisis - things over which, according to the governor, the state has "no control."
The blog Open Left praises the increased tax on the wealthy as a victory for progressives.
This is the Make Him Do It Dyanmic on the state level - in this case, progressive groups, led by the Working Families Party, forced Democratic Gov. David Paterson (D) to accept a commonsense, progressive budget/tax solution. It shows that movement pressure - whether you want to denigrate it as "anger" or "outrage" or "insufferable stridence" - can actually create significant concrete results.
The Niagara Times takes the position that Paterson, Smith and Silver are once again "sticking it to update."
And despite the enormous fiscal pressure the state faces, the budget contains $170 million in financing for pet projects — an amount unchanged from last year — suggesting that Albany’s appetite for with what critics call pork-barrel spending appeared to be undiminished.
Listed in the budget were grants to gun clubs, an upstate museum dedicated to bricks and brick-making, the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta and an organization known as the Urban Yoga Foundation.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership Blog says the budget is not terribly helpful to small businesses.
It's interesting - we're spending an awful lot of energy as a nation looking into how companies such as AIG and GM are using stimulus money - which is good (at least it would've been good had it been done proactively instead of after all hell broke loose). Let's hope that Washington begins to put the same scrutiny on states, because it's pretty certain that this "three men in a room" budget misses the boat on the intent of the historic federal aid.
You have to go back only a couple months to remember Gov. Paterson saying that everyone will have the "share the pain." Well, this budget is painful for a lot of people - small businesses, students, everyday citizen taxpayers... The only entity that seems to have come away unscathed is New York State, itself - to the point, even, that they've left $170MM in pork for the state legislature to divvy out. A week ago, there was a threat of layoffs in state government. Nope. There's been talk of a cost-saving Tier V level of the state employees' pension system. Nope.
The Albany Project offers up a round of news coverage.