Making good on his threats, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York yesterday vetoed about $940 million of spending measures in the budget passed by the Legislature last week.
If the vetoes go unchecked by the Legislature, New York City, other local governments, and schools districts around the state will be hit with $645 million in reduced state aid and revenue sharing.
"The Legislature has added more than a billion in new spending -- an amount far beyond what legislators indicated they expected to spend," Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
In January, Mr. Cuomo presented a $51.9 billion executive budget calling for $1.5 billion in revenues, fees, and revenue-raising one-shots and $4.5 billion in spending cuts to close a projected $6.5 billion budget gap for fiscal 1992, which began April 1.
Lawmakers in Albany, however, fought the governor's proposed spending reductions and finally offered up their own spending package last week, nine weeks after the budget was due. That package included about $1.8 billion in revenues and restored fundind to a number of programs slated for the budget axe.
But as soon as the budget was passed, Mr. Cuomo said he would veto most of the spending measures. In particular, he objected to the deep cuts made in the budgets of state agencies to restore spending in other areas.
But he did not override a revenue package assembled by the lawmakers that included an increase in the state's petroleum business tax and an energy business tax on corporations to generate $596 million in revenues in fiscal 1992.
"I believe that the budget passed by the Legislature is nearly $900 million out of balance, largely due to the Legislature's added spending, which is neither supported by new revenue nor offset by other cuts," he said.
The governor is expected, however, to sign a letter that states the budget is in balance with today's actions, and he will forward it to the state comptroller, who will begin the process of budget certification and the sale of $3.9 billion of notes.
William Stevens, a spokesman for the state Senate said, "We don't think the vetoes were necessary. The vetoes are going to impact local governments and school districts most severely.
"And the vetoes throw the budget way out of balance because they give the governor the power to receive more taxes than he had before," Mr. Stevens said.
But the Senate would not be the chamber to initiate veto overrides, Mr. Stevens noted. That task would be left to the Assembly, where the bills had originated.
Responding to the governor's actions, Assembly Speaker Mel Miller, D-Brooklyn, said, "The budget adopted by the Legislature last week is balanced, with real revenues, cuts, and savings to support our restorations. We took a fiscally sound approach to a devastating crisis."
But Mr. Miller did not say what the next step would be regarding any move to override the vetoes. "It would be imprudent to take any preciptious actions," he noted, adding, "The governor's vetoes require an intelligent, well thought out response." Legislative leaders will have to meet to discuss the vetoes and any course of action, he said.
Gov. Cuomo, under the state constitution, has exercised his line item veto 547 times since taking office in 1983. Of those vetoes, 22 involved items in state budgets. The Legislature has never thwarted a veto exercised by Mr. Cuomo.
For New York City, the vetoes mean at least $300 million in revenues are now needed to close a $3.5 billion for fiscal 1992, according to city officials.
"If we didn't get our $250 million from the Legislature, with the governor's vetoes that has now grown," said Philip R. Michael, executive director of the city's Office of Management and Budget. "Our gap problem goes from $250 million to over $300 million."
In referring to the state Legislature, Mr. Michael noted that the projected budget gap. But the budget passed last week allocated about $235 million in state aid with strings attached and left the city few if, any, gap-closing dollars.
Other problems caused by the vetoes include $50 million less in revenue sharing, Mr. Michael said. "Hopefully, that process will get back on track and the final conclusion will be one that does justice to our concerns, he said, adding that the city also needs the state Legislature to support a $335 million tax package for the city's fiscal 1992 budget, which begins July 1.
A spokesman for city Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman said, "The impact will be clearer if and when the Legislature takes action."