DiNapoli Thinks Hoping for an Early Budget Is ‘Overly Optimistic’

ALBANY—The state’s top financial officer is skeptical that lawmakers will be able to enact the budget a month early, as David Paterson initially proposed.

Early adoption, Paterson said, will save $1.3 billion of next year’s estimated $12.7 billion budget gap.

“It’s certainly been clear that we’re going to have a very tough budget, and it’s only been in recent past that the April 1st deadline has been real, so that March 1st is going to be the new real deadline might have been overly optimistic by the governor,” DiNapoli said at a breakfast meeting with reporters in his 15th floor office suite. “It’s certainly no excuse for it to be later than April 1st, but given the magnitude of the challenges I think it’s overly optimistic.”

Paterson himself backed off the initial proposal last Friday, saying lawmakers may not be able to meet the deadline. DiNapoli, before being appointed, served for two decades as a state assemblyman.