Cuomo to the Fiscal Rescue?

ALBANY—Cross $115 million off the list.

In his 30-day amendments to the proposed budget, David Paterson revised down the deficit in the current fiscal year to $1.6 billion, due to “unanticipated miscellaneous revenues from settlements by the Attorney General with UBS ($75 million) and Citigroup ($50 million) related to the sale of auction rate securities” less $10 million in additional spending for debt service.

So that means legislators have some extra wiggle room in the first salvo of dealing with the deficit, which will take place over the next few weeks. David Paterson has said he hopes lawmakers will deal with this by early February, and legislative leaders are optimistic they will meet the deadline.

All of Paterson’s “primarily technical” amendments are here.

Next year’s budget deficit has grown by $128 million, and includes $1 million in new funding for civil legal services to indigent plaintiffs. Anne Erickson, President of the Empire Justice Center, has been lobbying for more funds, which were slashed to zero from a high point of $16 million in the 2007-08 Budget.

“We really appreciate that the governor heard us and understands that these are critical investments,” she said. “We hope this is not just a symbolic gesture but really a turning point.”

On a semi-related note, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced today his auditors recovered a total of $59 million in audits last year. Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately return a call seeking a total dollar amount from settlements last year.

Cuomo to the Fiscal Rescue?