Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bully Pulpit?

The state's budget mess-thought to be resolved by a deal two nights ago is still up in the air; with, as the NY Times points out, accusations flying between the governor's office and various state senators: "The State Legislature has proved once again that it is a place where expectation and reality rarely converge. After a day of false starts and high anticipation that the Senate would vote on legislation to legalize same-sex marriage and close the state’s $3.2 billion budget gap, senators broke for recess late Tuesday before taking any votes."

The senate thought that the governor had agreed to a resolution only to come back on Tuesday to find out that Paterson had reneged: "Many legislators, who believed that they had struck a compromise with the governor on Monday afternoon only to learn from a press release that he was rejecting their deficit reduction plan, expressed outrage over the governor’s negotiating tactics and accused him of dragging the process out for his own political benefit."

Which led our friend Senator Savino to come up with this great line: "The truth is he doesn’t want this to end; he feels the longer this goes on the better he’ll look,” said Senator Diane J. Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island. “He’s enjoying the bully pulpit. He doesn’t want resolution because resolution deprives him of the spotlight.”

We're betting that this was the first time that Paterson and bully were used in the same sentence, but clearly senators were irked by the irresolution that they see as typifying the governor's behavior: "Senators also made an issue out of Mr. Paterson’s trip to Brooklyn on Tuesday evening to attend a campaign event. “The fact that he’s in Brooklyn tonight doing politicking instead of doing the budget is a great illustration of what we’ve been dealing with,” said Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat."

Which led to this response from Bully Dave: “Nobody has stalled negotiations or dragged his feet for political purposes throughout this process more than Carl Kruger,” said Marissa Shorenstein, a spokeswoman for Mr. Paterson. “From his unsubstantiated projections of the deficit to his own plan filled with fiscal gimmicks, borrowing and one-shots, Senator Kruger has devoted weeks to trying to roadblock a sound fiscal plan.”

We're guessing that the gov's flack's referring to Kruger's call for Paterson to come out from behind his desk and lead the charge against Indian tax avoidance-a potential $1.6 billion windfall. But that issue won't go away, because the current shortfall will pale in comparison to what the state will be facing after the first of the year. At that point, Paterson will have to choose his role model-either Andrew Jackson or General George Custer.