Governor Paterson had a long back and forth with Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos this morning at the legislative leaders meeting in the Capitol, as the two fought over the recent and future emergency budget extenders, which Skelos and his conference have repeatedly voted against.
The spat between the two—which mostly involved repeated pleas by Paterson for Skelos to provide a few votes for his extenders, and complaints by Skelos that he was being locked out of talks—come as the governor is facing threats from Senate Democrats to vote against his next weekly budget extender. Should any of them follow through on that threat, Paterson would clearly need a few Republicans to drop their Party-of-No strategy and vote for the budget to save state government from a complete shutdown.
“Work with us, pass the emergency appropriations,” Paterson said.
“I want you to be a partner with me,” he continued. “I want you to demonstrate that you will work with us and find a few people who believe the government should still be working.”
Skelos stuck to the line that he hasn’t been invited to talks, criticizing the governor for having a meeting this week with Democratic leaders, but not with he and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
The spat culminated with an offer by Paterson for Skelos to come over to his mansion anytime and drink a bottle of wine that he’d given the governor.
“You are welcome here, senator, and at the mansion,” Paterson said.
Skelos did not jump at the offer, noting that “anyone in this room or watching this” would not think that was a sincere offer for him to have a role in the talks.
“You’re really belittling our responsibility as leaders, and that’s wrong,” Skelos said.