Now that Governor David Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Assembly Sheldon Speaker emerged from their super-secret talks with a $132 billion budget, it's time to get the damn thing passed! Here's how the Times Union explains it: "With Gov. David Paterson's endorsement, the Legislature today intends to begin passing budget bills that will increase taxes by $5.2 billion, rely heavily on short-term and one-time revenues and require potentially deep cuts or more taxes if the economy continues its downward spin, as the governor projects."
The budget is about 8-10% bigger than last year's. The NY Times crowns SIlver the new king of Albany: "Mr. Silver, the powerful and cagey Assembly speaker, achieved what he wanted in the budget that emerged from the shadows of the statehouse this weekend, cementing his newfound role as the capital’s center of gravity."
Apparently Silver "dictated the process," making negotiations very secret, and "preserved the Legislature’s cherished spending on pet projects." In an editorial, the Daily News calls out Silver and Smith for "steamrolling Paterson" and also laments how federal stimulus money is being used: "Had Paterson, Silver and Smith been responsible, they would have held increased spending to the rate of inflation, applied the stimulus to that target and cut wasteful programs. Instead, they used the federal aid to boost spending, knowing full well that the money runs out in two years. What then? Heck, what now?"
This gives the state GOP some ammo; Senate minority leader Dean Skelo said, "Governor Paterson referred to this budget as a ‘work in progress.' That means taxpayers should watch their wallets because the governor, Senator Smith and Speaker Silver have clearly shown a strong appetite for higher taxes and more spending that likely will not stop with this budget, if it is enacted in the coming days.” Hilariously (okay, maybe not), the Senate GOP hasn't show up for a session to discuss the bills. And the Post shows how different taxpayers will be affected by the budget—from the single guy making $110,000 and a family making $95,000 to the family that makes $450,000.