- The special session is over in Albany, and despite the long shadow cast by the state's budget problems that prompted it in the first place, there was of course no word on any progress on naming an operator for the Aqueduct racino. Nor on the final resolution of NYRA's franchise for that matter. The next deadline on the latter is August 28; what a joke.
Lawmakers managed to squeeze out some $427 million in cuts for this year out of the $600 million sought by Governor Paterson, who said that another $75 million in cuts is still under negotiation. While the three men are squabbling over that relative pittance (though not I'm sure to whichever entity becomes the target), perhaps they should keep in mind that the existing racinos netted some $828 million in 2007, up from $426 million the year before as three new establishments were opened. The state receives around 55-65% of that money depending on the racino. (The state's Indian casinos paid out only $126 million of over $1 billion earned.) Not advocating here that state budgets should rely on slots revenues anymore than racetracks should....just acknowledging the facts on the ground, and the inevitableness of additional gaming given governments' current addiction to its revenues. So why can't they get this done already?
Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith praised the governor for helping transform the Legislature into what he termed a lean and mean cutting machine. And no, Smith was not joking, despite the fact that the cuts amount to a mere .35% of the total state budget.
The governor also hinted that he could be more amenable to the "millionaire's tax" passed by the Assembly in opposition to the 4% property tax favored by he and the Senate.
"Everybody in this state has to share...Everyone in a family should share responsibilty, and the senior members of the family should take more responsibility." [NY Daily News]- No Big Brown. But the Travers doesn't suck.