Francis on This Year’s ‘Difficult’ Budget

I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with Paul Francis, Eliot Spitzer’s top aide and newly minted director of operations. Francis said he doubts the capital budget from last year will be settled by the time the governor presents his executive budget on January 22 next year.

“I would say at this stage it’s highly unlikely that there will be a capital budget before the executive budget is introduced," Francis told me.

Francis, who helped craft Spitzer’s first budget last year, said this budget will be tougher, and that having an on-time budget is a secondary consideration.

“It’s probably fair to say the more difficult the budget, the harder it is to have an on-time budget. I think this will be a more difficult budget than last year because of the decline in revenues due to Wall Street problems." He added, "The governor said on a number of occasions, he thinks having a good budget is more important than having an on-time budget.”