News & Politics

Albany Still Hacking Away at the State Budget


No, the damn budget still hasn’t been passed. Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who walked her walking pneumonia into the chamber to applause yesterday, had to go back to the hospital, which killed the Democrats’ advantage. She and her medics are expected back today.

Meanwhile the complaints against the uncompleted budget continue to mount: Republican mayors from western New York peeled off an erstwhile bipartisan coaltion to denounce it (though one Democratic mayor admitted the budget “stinks”). They may be pissed that outlays to municipalities are flat in the budget as it stands.

And Governor Paterson expressed frustration with the contentious senators (“There are Democratic senators who won’t vote for the tolls and Democratic senators who won’t vote for the mobility tax, and then the Republican senators, all of them, who won’t vote for anything”).

But Amy Traub of the Drum Major Institute calls it “A Reasonable Budget for Hard Times,” and questions the priorities of critics incensed at its education and Medicaid outlays. In a refreshing change from the disingenuous tax protests of the tabs, Traub writes “New York’s economy will benefit the most if the state closes its budget gap by taxing the rich rather than cutting services.” But she agrees that the “three men in a room” style of budget dealing has got to go.



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