Members of two New York State legislative committees are discussing a proposal by state municipal leaders to allow local governments to seek deficit bonding authority under a single omnibus bill, county and legislative officials say.
At the moment, each municipality issuing deficit bonds must obtain its own approval from state lawmakers after receiving the green light from its own legislative body.
The omnibus bill plan would be the first of its kind in the state, legislative sources say, adding that it is still only an idea and that no lawmaker has begun drafting such a bill.
Although the idea is being considered by the state Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, it derives the lion's share of its support from local finance officials facing a souring economy. State sources say between eight and 17 local governments are planning to issue deficit bonds for fiscal 1992.
With the state legislative session scheduled to end this month, observers say the number of municipalities seeking to bond out deficits could overwhelm lawmakers who must deal with a myriad of issues.
David A. Vieser, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Thomas S. Guilotta, said lobbyists for the county have asked Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino to support an omnibus bill. Nassau officials, facing a projected accumulated budget deficit of $130 million, are seeking approval from the county's Board of Supervisors to issue up to $100 million in deficit bonds.
Mr. Vieser said officials from Mr. Marino's office confirmed they are discussing the matter, but did not indicate whether they plan to draft legislation to implement the proposal. Another state legislative source also said the plan is being looked over by legislative finance officials.
Despite Nassau's support for the bill and general discussion of the topic, legislative leaders doubt the measure would ultimately become law.
A Senate Finance Committee spokesman said Mr. Marino is unlikely to support the measure because he prefers that municipalities submit separate bills.
But the spokesman said the idea has support in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
According to a committee source, the proposal is part of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's recent mandate relief effort for local governments. However, not enough municipalities have announced official deficit financing plans to merit an omnibus bill, the source said.
Legislative sources say five municipalities have submitted legislation for deficit financing authority from the state. Officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties have proposed bonding to help address budget gaps. But the measure has yet to receive approval from each county's legislative branch, which is required before the state considers the proposal.
Mr. Cuomo's plan, which was rejected by the Senate Finance Committee, would have allowed municipalities to raise their local utility tax and other fees without legislative approval.