Sampson Talks of Urgency, in a Way

ALBANY—John Sampson, the leader of the Democratic conference in the State Senate, was asked if he felt New York truly faces a cash squeeze in December.

“You know, it’s very important that we deal with the economic crisis the way it is. We just have to deal with it, whether it happens in a couple of weeks, next month, we just have to deal with it,” Sampson said after a meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to discuss ways to bridge a mid-year budget deficit. (Surprise! There’s still no agreement.) “It’s an economic situation that we need to keep under control. We don’t want to go the ways of California or a couple of other states. So it’s always good to be ahead of the curve than behind the curve, so I commend the governor on that: making sure we keep our eye on the prize and make sure that we maintain an economically viable state.”

The oft-quoted figure is that New York’s general fund will have just $36 million by the end of December if no legislative action is taken, a “thin margin” according to Budget Director Bob Megna. The state just settled on over $1 billion worth of bonds for capital construction, and this money can be moved temporarily into the general fund until tax receipts pick up in January. There are also the revenues David Paterson has said we can now expect in December.

Sampson was asked if the issue could wait until January. “You know what, nothing is hyperbole, and that’s why we’re working,” he said.