News Coverage on On-Time Budgets
Gov's Budget UltimatumBrendan Scott
ALBANY -- Gov. Paterson played headmaster yesterday and ordered reluctant lawmakers to hand in a balanced budget in two weeks -- or else.
The tough-talking executive used a public budget summit in Albany to warn legislative leaders that he would force them to vote on his entire budget June 28 if they failed to produce a plan to close an estimated $9.2 billion deficit -- and do so without borrowing.
The ultimatum blindsided lawmakers, and renewed the threat of a government shutdown, since Paterson pledged to pack his remaining budget proposals into must-pass emergency-spending legislation.
"This process has got to end, and it's time to set a deadline, and I'm going to set it," Paterson said.
"So we will be out of here. You can plan your schedules."
The governor also ruled out Legislature-backed proposals to borrow up to $2 billion by selling bonds or refinancing a loan on the state's share of the tobacco settlement.
"I don't want any borrowing, tobacco bonds or any other means of meeting this end," Paterson said.