Paterson Pleads for Compromise, Mulls Another Washington Trip

ALBANY—David Paterson pled for a truce with State Senate Republicans, continuing to say he will suggest, at a meeting with legislative leaders later today, drawing  up a compromise package of budget measures to address a multi-billion dollar deficit.

"We have an immense opportunity to do what California didn't do," he told the Post's Fred Dicker on TALK1300 AM. "I'm just trying to find out if there's any interest in moving forward. Dragging this out is not in anyone's interest."

He is scheduled to meet in the Red Room with leaders of each legislative conference at half past noon, but what will happen is unclear.

Senate Republicans, led by Dean Skelos, prompted Paterson to call the meeting after Skelos abruptly called for a vote on the governor's budget legislation. If they do vote tomorrow, it's nearly certain the measures won't pass, and in the meantime, it will force Democrats to go on record with the vote while their presumed majority in January hangs in the balance. Paterson called it a political stunt.

Democrats won enough seats to take the State Senate, but the margin is so close that threats from various individuals and groups have threatened to take it away.

Paterson aimed to rise above those scuffles. "I think that the fight for the leadership of the senate may be, in many respects, obfuscating the process," he said. "But I hope that people will understand that the ramifications of not addressing this budget are so severe, people won't care what political party they're in, and the voters won't care either."

Speaking to reporters after the radio interview, Paterson resisted talking about future plans until after this afternoon's meeting, but earlier this morning, appearing on WCBS 880 AM, he said, "I'm thinking strongly if it doesn't work out today of going to Washington tomorrow to talk about a second stimulus package, but I must tell you that, very relevant to whether New York gets help from Washington, is Washington's view of whether we are managing our own affairs." Paterson Pleads for Compromise, Mulls Another Washington Trip