ALBANY—Noting that "today is the same as yesterday, yesterday is the same as the day before," David Paterson said he has directed the state treasurer not to pay senators per diem expenses and asked Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to review whether members of the still-hobbled State Senate should be paid.
Paterson said he believes he has the power to withhold the per diems because they "relate to state travel, and there we feel we do have jurisdiction." In a letter to DiNapoli, Paterson's counsel Peter Kiernan asked whether DiNapoli intended to authorize the payments. The governor, when pressed, acknowledged he did not have the authority to halt the payments and was just expressing an "opinion."
He reiterated a call for another extraordinary session Friday, and was not backing off on his threat to keep calling the sessions until the crisis is resolved. He said he was disappointed that the crisis had devolved into a war of words between him and the senators.
"They didn't show me any written agreements, they didn't go into detail about what the agreements there might be," Paterson said of the various legislative leaders, who are acting optimistic. "Which made me think that they are be more concerned with how they spend their weekend than how the people of New York spend the period after July 1 when the necessary legislation doesn't pass."