ALBANY—With cover, Democrats in the State Senate have introduced their own deficit reduction plan.
It comes after several hearings the conference held this week, and includes $500 million from the refinancing of tobacco bonds. It also includes other sweeps and avoids the most painful cuts to education and Medicaid reimbursements.
“Our goal all along has been to close the gap without burdening New York State residents with additional taxes or service cuts, and to turn back mid-year reductions to education and health care services,” State Senator Carl Kruger, the chamber’s finance chairman, said. “The proposal we offer accomplishes this goal.”
This bill has no companion bill in the Assembly, and no one expects it to pass. High-ranking Democrats in the Senate tell me that the purpose of Kruger’s bill is to make the governor back away from his proposed education cuts and show just how much money there is lying around. The target audience is not so much the David Paterson–whose own plan includes mid-year cuts and who has dismissed the tobacco refinancing out of hand–but the leadership of the Assembly. The three parties have not agreed to a deficit-cutting package.
Some powerful interest groups immediately fell behind Kruger’s plan, as they continued to blast Paterson. The health care union 1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association are airing a radio ad claiming Paterson’s plan would result in 12,000 health care layoffs. Ken Raske, GNYHA’s president, said Kruger’s bill is “a thoughtful alternative.”
Here’s the ad the organization is running against Paterson: