Paterson: Not Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow

ALBANY—David Paterson said there will be no deficit agreement passed tonight.

“I think that if there’s enough hard work tonight, then tomorrow we might be able to reach an agreement. That’s not a prediction that we will reach an agreement tomorrow. It’s just that I feel that we’re continuing to negotiate and we just have to lock this down as quickly as possible,” Paterson said after a press conference to announce an agreement to tighten public authority oversight. He said he would not force legislators to stay in Albany; “I’m not going to make any long-term threats, but as you notice, though it has not been done, we continue to work.”

This does not indicate tangible movement, despite hopeful signs earlier today. State Senator John Sampson, the Democratic conference leader said “we are continuing to negotiate to work toward a deal which will be worked relatively soon,” which he defined as “in the immediate future, not too distant future.”

Earlier, Assembly Speaker Silver said things were “probably not” closer than they were this morning.

Paterson articulated the commonly held reasoning behind the stalemate.

“There’s no secret that there is a battle continuing over the Senate,” he said. “They’re only one seat apart in terms of what constitutes the majority or minority. And, an agreement between the two houses, there is a certain amount of desire not to be ridiculed in front of the public for cutting school aid, cutting health care. They do provide 55 percent of the budget deficit, so normally it would be a no-brainer in terms of cutting the deficit. But we don’t live in a vacuum, we live in a real world where there are people who have interests and are not shy about coming to Albany and expressing them.”

And we are where we are.

Legislators left the Capitol before 7. The State Assembly passed the chapte amendments needed for the deal on authority reform, but the Senate adjourned without considering the measure. A Senate source said the debate would have been lengthy, because some Republicans are still displeased with the bill. Session is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday.

Paterson: Not Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow