After unsuccessfully trying to prod legislators into making the first move, Governor Paterson proposed spending cuts aimed at closing the latest deficit being projected for this year, estimates of which range from around $3 billion to $4.1 billion.
The plan also includes some one-time revenue shots, including a raid of the state's environmental fund, as well as $200 million - this year - for the Aqueduct racino. And where have we heard that before? Hard to say if that figure reveals anything about who the choice will be, given that the figures we've read about are only what have been reported in the press.....and given the fact that the proposals seem to remain in flux. Perhaps however we can surmise that Delaware North, last reported to be offering just $100 million up front with additional cash to follow, is not amongst the finalists....perhaps.
The cuts would effect schools, healthcare, and local governments. They drew the usual condemnation from effected groups, which, as always, comes without the offer of alternative solutions. And they were met by a lack of urgency by the state Senate (the Democratic leaders of which are still in China), which indicated it will hold hearings late in the month. Senator and Gang of Four member Carl Kruger actually accused the governor of exaggerating the crisis, suggesting that he was doing it for his own political gain. "So if he wants to up his poll numbers and run for re-election, he won't be running against the Legislature." [Daily Politics] As if spending cuts such as those being proposed are going to help his poll numbers. What a jerk, and this guy is the head of the Senate Finance Committee. Scary.
The governor, flashing his political chops as we've seen quite a bit of lately, went on the offensive with a PR assault of his own.
"I gave the legislators about six weeks to give me suggestions as to how they would cut it, and now they're all screaming," Paterson said on WOR radio.- The calls for the resignation of State Senator Hiram Monserrate have begun, even though he was acquitted of the most serious assault charges, convicted only of a misdemeanor for dragging his girlfriend through the halls of their apartment building after he slashed her face with a glass....er, accidentally....of course. Though he could theoretically be sentenced to a year in jail, the consensus seems to be that that is unlikely given that he is a first-time women
"I mean, I think they're embarrassing themselves, frankly. [NY Post]
State Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, said Monserrate should resign "for the sake of his constituents, the institution of the Senate and the Democratic Party."It's certainly fair to be outraged about the verdict; but don't blame the judge, who I believe did his job and delivered a proper verdict under the circumstances of the highly circumstantial evidence. It's a strange justice system in which a trial of this nature can be conducted and concluded without the two principals actually having to take the stand to testify about what happened, and then defend that testimony under withering cross-examination. No opportunities here for any Perry Mason moments resulting from expert testimony disputing any physical possibility of the incident taking place as detailed by the attacker under oath.
"Domestic violence is a scourge on our society," she added.
"We're held to a high standard in the Senate, and I would expect he would understand that and resign immediately," said Sen. Neil D. Breslin, D-Albany.
Other Democrats joined in those calls, with some saying they will push for expulsion proceedings if Monserrate, another member of the vaunted Gang of Four, does not resign. [Buffalo News]
Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina, a $750-an-hour lawyer who Monserrate was suddenly able to afford right around the time of the Senate coup in June, slyly called just two witnesses, thus allowing the prosecution, and the interest of justice for all, to twist in the wind. We can only hope that the Senate will do the right thing and throw the thug out. (And while they're at it, they can throw Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. out with the trash.)