Governor David Paterson will hold a Wednesday morning press conference to explain how he intends to deal with the state’s ballooning budget gap.
The governor says the state deficit has grown to about $1.5 billion and is projected to climb to $47 billion over the next four years.
“This is not a reality TV show. This is not a game. This is a very serious situation that involves the survival of people of New York and the quality of their lives,” said Paterson.
Paterson says everything is on the table, including mid-year cuts to schools as well as givebacks from unions to avoid potential layoffs.
State lawmakers are set to return to Albany on November 18 for a special session, although it’s not yet clear if they will act on the governor’s recommendations.
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has little pressure to act during the lame duck session and his likely successor, Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, has yet to suggest cuts either.
Sources say without the support of the State Senate, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is not likely to do anything either.
Such legislative reluctance has exasperated Paterson.
“I would think whether you were a lame duck, whether you were a growing duck or whatever it is, that you don’t duck your responsibilities,” said the governor.
Nevertheless, deficits may not be cut before the new year.