Tue March 2, 2010
DiNapoli and Silver push for Ravitch to negotiate budget
By Mark Scott
Albany, NY – Two top state leaders are urging Governor David Paterson to let his second-in-command negotiate a new state budget with the State Legislature.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was the first to suggest that Lieutenant-Governor Richard Ravitch should play a leadership role in budget talks. Now, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver also thinks that's a good idea.
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Paterson is considered a lame duck after withdrawing from this year's gubernatorial campaign amid a scandal involving a key aide. On Monday's Capitol Pressroom on WBFO, New York Post Albany correspondent Brendan Scott said legislative leaders no longer trust Paterson.
"When it comes to Sheldon Silver, the governor has no relationship," Scott said. "It's been deteriorating for months."
Still, Ravitch would be acting on Paterson's behalf. And says Jay Gallagher, another reporter from the Capitol Pressroom, Ravitch himself could find himself coming under criticism.
"Ravitch is viewed as a potential savior. But as soon as he starts saying we need to cut school aid and we need to close parks, he'll be under the same sort of pressure that Paterson was under," Gallagher said.
The state budget deadline is now less than a month away. But many capitol observers say the ongoing turmoil involving Paterson, combined with an $8 billion deficit, could result in a budget that will be weeks, if not months, late.