A multiyear plan to solve New York State's combined $4.4 billion budget gap for fiscal years 1992 and 1993 is now back on the front burner after Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and legislative leaders met yesterday and agreed to pursue such a program.
The agreement is a turnaround from last week, when Gov. Cuomo announced that talks had broken down between him and the leaders over a plan to close the budget gaps over 15 months. Gov. Cuomo then presented a deficit reduction plan to deal only with the $875 million budget gap projected in fiscal 1992, which ends March 31. A $3.6 billion gap is projected for fiscal 1993.
The fiscal 1992 deficit reduction plan was considered by many observers in Albany to be Mr. Cuomo's attempt to bring lawmakers back to the negotiating table. The plan included roughly $250 million in state aid cuts to school districts.
Although details of the multiyear plan have not been released, a freeze on some state agency spending over 15 months, Medicaid reform, and deficit financing may be included.
Yesterday, the leaders of the Assembly and state Senate met with Gov. Cuomo in his New York City office, said Terry Lynam, a spokesman for the governor. "It is basically an agreement to move forward on a 15-month plan," he said.
Lawmakers are expected to return to Albany next Wednesday to work on developing the gap-closing plan.
In a statement, Assembly Speaker Mel Miller, D-Brooklyn, said, "The Assembly is committed to achieving a multiyear solution to the state's fiscal problems, with no tricks and no gimmicks."
Reforms should include changing when the state's fiscal year begins and making the multiyear plan an 18-month budget, he said. "We cannot and will not tax our way out of this problem," he added.
Senate Majority Leader Ralph J. Marino, R-Muttontown, said, "A multiyear approach to solving this state's budget problems will only succeed if major Medicaid and welfare reforms are adopted, which is something Assembly Democrats have fiercely resisted in the past."
William Stevens, a spokesman for the state Senate, said the agreement means "we are at the table and everything is still open to discussion other than a mid-year school aid cut."