The extraordinary circumstances of David Paterson’s rise to office go far beyond Eliot Spitzer, whose alleged ties to high-priced prostitutes forced him to resign last week. The 55th governor has his work cut out for him during difficult times in the state. NY1 Albany reporter Josh Robin filed the following report.

Expect smiles and applause Monday during David Paterson’s swearing in ceremony, but the new governor may be excused for soon feeling upset.

There are growing deficits, failing schools, and a budget to be worked out — something he’s talked about since getting word he would be the new governor.

“We cannot afford to waste another second,” said Paterson, speaking to the media the day after Eliot Spitzer announced he was resigning as governor. “We have a budget that’s due and a deadline to meet.”

To Albany observers, the strange circumstances of Paterson’s rise will bring good will — to a point.

“I think Mr. Paterson will have a honeymoon for at least a couple of months,” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters.

In the meantime though, he has to sit down with Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno — a pair of Albany players who don’t see eye to eye on how to bridge a more than $4 billion deficit.

Silver proposes hiking taxes on millionaires. Bruno says no. So did Spitzer, but Paterson is more liberal than his running mate. He’s hinted he’s open to the tax, alarming some.

“I think that if the new governor adopts and embraces this income tax increase proposed by the Assembly, it’s going to be a recipe for a prolonged budget stalemate because the Senate cannot do it,” said E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center. “If he does not, I think they will cobble together a budget rather quickly, although they are hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars apart.”

To ready the field, Paterson’s been charming his new partners — and getting some kindness in return.

“Senator Bruno bought lunch for me,” joked Paterson on Friday.

There may be a lot of working lunches. Upstate has been bleeding jobs and covets downstate resources — a potential trip-up.

“Upstate definitely has its problems economically and Mr. Paterson will have to show that even though he is a downstate governor, legislator, he must show he can govern and help upstate as well,” said Bartoletti.

But downstate has pressing needs, like funding schools and paying for downtown redevelopment.

A plan to toll Manhattan streets also has a March 31st deadline. And a spending proposal to restore and expand city mass transit is short more than $13 billion.

This laundry list of tasks is making some wonder how long Paterson will stay smiling.

Read article here

You may also like

State’s Growing Budget Hole Threatens NYC Jobs and Aid as Congress Takes a Holiday

“The biggest problem for the state is the enormous, recurring structural budget gap starting next year and into the future,” said E.J. McMahon of the conservative-leaning Empire Center. “Cuomo clearly hopes that starting in 2021, (Democratic presidential candidate Joseph) Biden and a Democratic Congress will provide states and local government a couple of year’s worth of added stimulus. Read More

How Andrew Cuomo became ‘maybe the most powerful governor’ in U.S.

Ed McKinley ALBANY — When the New York Constitution was reorganized nearly 100 years ago to give the governor more power over the budget process,  noted there was a risk of making “the governor a czar." M Read More

Study disputes Cuomo on Trump tax package; experts say it’s complicated

Michael Gormley ALBANY — A new study by a conservative think tank says President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law gave most New Yorkers a tax cut, even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insists on repealing the measure because he says it will cost New Yo Read More

Empire Center sues Department of Health over nursing home records

Johan Sheridan ALBANY, N.Y. () — The Empire Center filed a  against the state Department of Health on Friday. “This case isn’t about assigning blame or embarrassing political leaders,” said Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s Read More

Good news: That New York pork isn’t going out the door after all

The Empire Center first reported Tuesday that grants — 226 of them, totaling $46 million, to recipients selected by the governor and individual state lawmakers — seemed to still be going ahead. Read More

New York Lawmakers Seek Independent Probe of Nursing-Home Coronavirus Deaths

With lingering questions about how the novel coronavirus killed thousands of New Yorkers who lived in nursing homes, a group of state lawmakers is pushing to create an independent commission to get answers from the state Department of Health. Read More

Policy analyst: Cuomo wrong to write-off nursing home criticism as political conspiracy

“The importance of discussing this and getting the true facts out is to understand what did and didn’t happen so we can learn from it in case this happens again,” Hammond said. Read More

EDITORIAL: Nursing home report requires a second opinion

No doubt, the Health Department and the governor would like this report to be the final word on the subject. But if it’s all the same with them, we’d still like a truly independent review. Read More