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Budget Update

April 20, 2010

Day 20: Less than a billion separates the sides, and the open question is how to fill the gap. The Governor wants cuts. The Assembly favors revenue enhancers. The Senate favors bonding.

Normally, the solution is to split the difference. That is, give each side what it wants in roughly equal proportions.

But this year, things are more complicated than usual. The Assembly is still governed by the same rules of engagement, but not so with the Governor or the Senate. Paterson, a lame duck, has nothing more to loose and can afford to wait out the lawmakers. So far he’s insisting on a billion more in cuts.

The Senate Dems, trying to hold onto the razor thin majority, are more mindful than ever of political ramifications and appear willing to hold out for something that will help them in the fall elections. That something is a restoration of property tax relief. (They can at least read the polls – taxes are the root of voter anger this year. See Tea Party.)  

Normally, we’d be in favor tax relief, too. But not this time. That’s because the Senate Dems are proposing to pay for the tax relief with additional debt. Think about this one: They want to borrow money from Wall Street to pay for tax cuts to make themselves look good. Who thought of that? The people at Goldman Sachs?

This must not happen, at least not in this form. If the Senate Dems want property tax relief, let them come up with true spending cuts to finance it. That’s the only responsible thing to do.

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