Statement by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos
The Democrats and Governor Paterson have been talking about shutting down government for the past week and appear to want that to happen. They went behind closed doors, negotiated a budget extender in secret and now apparently, cannot produce the votes to pass it.
Senate Republicans gave the Governor a list of almost $800 million in spending cuts last week. At this late hour we still do not have a bill, but a revised draft, and it appears that over the weekend, instead of reducing spending even more, they added another $200 million in welfare spending appropriations.
The Democrats control all of state government and have excluded both Senate and Assembly Republicans from budget talks. Had Senator Sampson and Speaker Silver followed the law and convened budget conference committees, I believe we would have a budget in place and not be talking about a government shutdown.
The failure to produce the votes to pass this latest budget extender is a failure of Democrat leadership by the Senate Democrats. Republicans will not let the Democrats shut down state government. As long as the bill that comes before the Senate does not include new taxes, fees or borrowing, we will assure that government will continue to function.
The people of this state have had enough of taxes and spending that resulted from last year’s disastrous budget that increased spending by more than $13 billion and raised taxes by $8.5 billion. They have made it clear that they do not want any new taxes or borrowing and neither do we. I am putting Governor Paterson and the Democrat legislative leaders on notice that if any future budget extender includes new taxes, fees or borrowing, they will not be able to count on our support.