Every week since Albany failed to meet its April 1st budget deadline, Governor Paterson has sent a one-week extender budget over to the legislature, which passes it in a up or down vote (they can't modify it). But lately Paterson's been including controversial items, like the cigarette tax, into these bills, forcing lawmakers to approve it or shut down the government. And next week, Paterson may go through with a "nuclear-option bill," which would include even more of the changes that the lobbyists have worked so hard to stop, like the dreaded soda tax.
Paterson has given the Legislature until Monday to come up with a budget he can agree with, and if not, the governor will select from "a menu of choices" for the extender bill, as one source tells the Daily News. "Everything is on the table and everyone will know what it looks like on Friday if there's no budget deal by then," Paterson's source says. "If they don't want it to come down to it, they should reach an agreement with the governor on the budget. If they don't, they'll be the ones to be blamed for shutting government, not the governor."
NYC's public advocate Bill de Blasio is all for the soda tax. In an editorial in the NY Observer, he writes, "Rarely does a budget proposal have such wide-ranging effects on not just the fiscal but the physical health of citizens, but the soda tax does just that. We know that the major soda corporations and their lobbyists are pumping lots of money into their effort to kill this initiative because they worry it might impact their profits. Rather than bowing to the soda lobby, New York's legislators need to realize this proposal is a win-win for the state." As a counterpoint, the Times's Clyde Haberman says, "Thank Heaven for those of you in New York who behave self-destructively. Without you, what would the politicians do to balance their budgets?"