Paterson: Shutdown Over Budget Would Cause ‘Unimaginable Chaos,’ Crime In NY


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NYS Governor Paterson went into full doomsday mode Thursday, warning of chaos and anarchy in the streets if the government shuts down.

“It would create unimaginable chaos around the state and the greater metropolitan area,” Paterson said on WCBS Radio 880 this morning.

Paterson warned that the state would run out of money to pay its workforce – including troopers and correction officers – and eventually would not even be able to put gas in state vehicles.

Even stop-gap measures, such as the state Controller issuing IOUs, would work for only so long.

“Eventually the banks aren’t going to pay based on IOUs, and you now have no money to pay your police, you have no money to pay your correction officers, your firefighters, your emergency health care workers,” Paterson said.

On WBEN in Buffalo , Paterson went so far as to warn of runs on banks and financial institutions that have not been seen since the Great Depression.

“You could have anarchy, literally, in the streets when the government shuts down,” Paterson said.

Despite the dire warnings, Paterson did try to tamp down his war of words with Sens. Pedro Eapada and Ruben Diaz over their threats to vote against his budget extenders.

Paterson yesterday cited “disingenuous” lawmakers who are not looking out for the public good. While not mentioning Espada and Diaz by name, he said, “I’m not going to respond to any threats, any thug activity. I’m not going to respond to any blackmail.”

But Thursday morning he told Daily News columnist Errol Louis on his WWRL 1600-AM radio show that he was referring to last year’s Senate coup and he wasn’t going to be treated that way.

“I didn’t mention their names or imply they were acting like thugs,” he said. “Last year there was a lot of that kind of activity involving a lot of people who were involved in that coup and what were some very nefarious practices at that time.”

“I didn’t mean they were doing it now. I was just saying that I’m not going to back down because of threats.”

He then went on to criticize Espada, who was a central figure in last year’s coup, and Diaz, who was not. He said Diaz, who Wednesday warned that the governor will see what a thug can do when the next extender comes up for a vote on Monday, was twisting his words.

“What I said about those two senators is that I just don’t think they understand what a government shutdown is,” Paterson said. “They think this is just the regular back and forth that goes on in politics, saying nasty things about the person you don’t like and saying you’re not going to pass the extenders because you oppose the healthcare cuts.”

Paterson saved his harshest criticism for Senate Republicans, whom he says have consistently called for Medicaid cuts and then voted against them when he included them in the extenders.

“Who are they trying to fool?” he asked. “I have a lot of sympathy for what the Democrats are doing. They at least voted for the cuts and bit the bullet, Sen. Diaz and Espada included.

“What Republicans do is they talk that Republican talk like they do in Washington and then they run back to the special interests and say, ‘Hey look, the Democrats are cutting. When we get back in power we’re not going to do it.”

Frustrated with a lack of progress toward a budget that is now 71 days late, Paterson has begun inserting major cuts into his weekly emergency spending bills designed to keep government operating.

With every Senate Republican voting against the extenders in recent weeks, the Democrats have needed all 32 of their members to vote ‘yes” for the measures to pass.

If the GOP doesn’t relent and Diaz and Espada, who backed off their threats somewhat Wednesday, don’t relent, then the state faces an unprecedented government shutdown.

Paterson on Thursday urged the Republicans and the “couple of Democrats” to consider the consequences of there actions.

“All I’m saying to the couple of Democrats and the 30 Republicans, you don’t want to be responsible for what will come of this,” Paterson said. “Read history, look what happened to the people who forced it on the president in Washington in 1995.”

(Source: NY Daily News)


  1. unimaginable chaos – as opposed to what?

    Many people believe that unimaginable chaos is the normal state of things in New York (well, at least in Manhattan).

    When the Federal government closed down in 1995 due to the President and the Congresses being excessively stubborn, it meant civil servants had a nice little vacation, and a lot of tourists were annoyed.