- Governor Paterson will shortly release his budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year which begins April 1, and the deficit is now projected to be some $15.4 billion. Interesting to see if Paterson includes any anticipated fees from a Belmont racino, as Eliot Spitzer did last year. Of course, last year's budget also included the $250 million that the state has not yet received for slots at Aqueduct, eventually determined to be from Delaware North (and it will actually be $370 million if it ever happens), as well as outlays to service the construction bonds which have not yet been issued.
The governor is not having a very good week, and it's only Tuesday. The spare outlines of his budget proposals which emerged over the weekend only scraped the surface of the unpopular hikes in taxes and fees, and the painful cuts he will propose. And the criticism which has already emerged, for the cuts, and for both taxes proposed and not (yet) proposed, is just a hint at what's to come. Paterson may find himself wishing that all of the attacks he's bound to face are as "good-humored" as the Saturday Night Live skit which mocked his disability. The angry reaction of the generally affable and self-deprecating Paterson may give us a hint of his current mood. (Though I'd say it's understandable from his standpoint. No comparison here in my mind between this skit and the Palin skits, which merely required Tina Fey to repeat or rephrase the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate's already embarrassing and ridiculous statements.)
In addition, Paterson still faces uncertainty as to the Democrats' prospects to control the State Senate, where a gang of three dissident Democratic senators who need to get over themselves are still preventing Democratic leader Malcolm Smith from formally assuming that role after a highly questionable deal fell apart last week. However, it does seem as if politicians on both sides of the aisle are tiring of the trio's hardball tactics, especially in light of the Blagojevich scandal.
Demands by the trio have appeared so over-the-top that aides to Paterson and the legislative leaders have begun using such terms as "Somali pirates" and "the three indictees" to describe them.And, just to top things off, Caroline Kennedy has now officially thrown her hat into the ring for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, which will certainly put more unwelcome pressure on the governor. In fact, Ms. Kennedy has apparently thrown her rings into the ring as well. She has been reported to have already contacted Senator Chuck Schumer, Sheldon Silver, Al Sharpton, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, NYC school chancellor Joel Klein, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, Representatives Louise Slaughter and Steve Israel, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Joe Crowley, the Democratic Party Chairman in Queens, as well as Queen Elizabeth, Queen (the band), Sean Avery, Sean Connery, Conor Oberst, Cedric the Entertainer, Joe the Plumber, Joe Torre, Tori Spelling, Steven Speilberg, Stephon Marbury, Mary Poppins, Mary (mother of Jesus), Simon Cowell, Colin Powell, Colin Firth, Brett Favre, Michael Moore, Thurston Moore, Les Nessman, Eliot Ness, Eliot Spitzer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Seymour Hersh, Judd Hirsch, Ashley Judd, Ashley Simpson, Lisa Simpson, Lisa Lisa, Robin Roberts, Robin Trower, Tower Records, and the wait and kitchen staff at Tavern on the Green. Man, you think she wants this?
The latter reference reflected the widespread concern that Gang members could have crossed a legal line with their demands. [NY Post]
Still, I'll stick to my guns and say that she won't get the appointment, though I'll have to think of some new reasons why not and I'll get back to you, Katie (God, I miss her).