Albany - Gov't May Borrow Billions For Budget Fix
Albany - With the threat of New York government shutting down as early as Monday, budget negotiators are starting to talk about the possibility of borrowing up to $2 billion to close the budget gap.
Otherwise, Governor Paterson warns of chaos and anarchy in the legislature If he's forced to shut down the government in a few days.
The clowns in the state Legislature, now deadlocked for 72 days on the budget, are ready to take down the "big tent" and bring state government to a standstill. At least that's what Paterson thinks.
"No one knows the full ramifications of a government shutdown," said Paterson. "It would create unimaginable chaos around the state and the greater metropolitan areas."
Such chaos includes closing all state parks, motor vehicles offices, courts, and even the lottery. Public assistance payments would not be made and unemployment payments might also be held up.
The governor is in this pickle, in part, because wild cards like Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) and possibly scandal-scarred Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) might not go along.
Sources said the next emergency bill from Paterson will have up to $350 million in cuts to human services and mental health. But Republicans, who could become Paterson's new allies in the budget battle, aren't satisfied with that.
They want $750 million in new cuts like:
Delaying the 10 percent welfare grant increases
Withholding welfare from those who don't comply with employment requirements
Reducing the personal needs allowance of people in drug and alcohol programs
Diaz will not go along with that.
"I am not voting for any more cuts. I understand that it is painful," said Diaz. "But the governor is leaving me no choice."
The other renegade, Espada, thinks there might be a budget deal in the offing, but, he said, "I would vote no if such a massive cut were included because the state needs a fiscal plan.
Paterson called both men "thugs."
Espada, like some in both houses of the Legislature, thinks lawmakers will find a way to avoid bringing the government to a grinding halt.
"There will not be a shutdown on Monday. We've never wanted a shutdown," he said.
It's really too early to tell what is going to happen. Will Espada and Diaz back down? Will Paterson make a deal with the Republicans? Or will pigs fly?