David Paterson just said there is no deal on an income tax increase for high earners, but his rhetoric on the subject has softened.
"If we get the spending cuts that I think we actually need …" He said at a Red Room press conference before trailing off. "The devastating thing is our budget deficit is $3.2 billion more than it was when we came before you six weeks ago to say we closed the 2008-09 budget deficit."
Paterson had previously said the millionaire's tax remains on the table, but he did not include it in his initial budget submission because he feared things have gotten worse. The shrunken revenue forecast last week provided an excuse to bring it forward now; the Assembly is pushing for a proposal that would start at people earning $300,000 and raise $4 billion.
"We have gone beyond the point where we are now, right on the verge of cuts and service reductions that I would have to describe as life-threatening," Paterson continued. "Obviously, in situations like that, everything is on the table. But I would rather not discuss it until I can get a few more—" He was cut off by screaming reporters. Paterson has not taken media questions for several days.
"There is not a deal at this particular time," Paterson said, when pressed. "Yes, we would like to start printing in those areas where we have achieved consensus so that we can start to pass the budget on time. So the fact that we are taking actions assuming we will come in on time does not mean that there's a deal."