Even after Gov. Mario M. Cuomo offered on Tuesday to restore $360 million in spending, New York State lawmakers are still not willing to give up the ghost on having a final say in shaping the state's fiscal 1992 budget.
Yesterday, legislative leaders once again argued that Gov. Cuomo's decision earlier this month to veto $1 billion in spending to correct a perceived budget imbalance was unnecessary: The $51.9 billion budget they had passed -- nine weeks after it was legally due on April 1 -- was balanced.
At the press conference in Albany -- reduced at one point to a name-calling session -- Assembly Speaker Mel Miller, D-Brooklyn, and Senate Majority Leader Ralph J. Marino, R-Muttontown, said the governor's vetoes have created a $794 million surplus.
"The governor's vetoes have created a surplus in state revenues and a deficit for schools, local governments, and local service providers across the state," they said in a joint statement.
Both leaders accused the governor and his staff of "playing with" and "manipulating" the budget numbers to make the budget passed by lawmakers look bad.
Mr. Cuomo argued yesterday that restoring all the spending he wants cut "would be a terrible mistake," adding that bond rating agencies might downgrade state debt if lawmakers pursue veto overrides. "Our state would be left on the fiscal junk pile," he said.
As for Mr. Cuomo's move to restore funding, they said, "It is clear that the original vetoes are unnecessary, and we welcome any attempt on his part to restore the funds taken away from localities and school districts as a result of his actions."
But a source in the state Senate offered this: "I don't see how the $360 million satisfies anybody. I think there will be more negotiations. We haven't ruled out anything, including veto overrides."
A spokesman for the Assembly said, "We are still looking at the details" of the governor's latest spending plan.
On Tuesday evening, Gov. Cuomo presented an alternative budget that calls for $360 million in additional spending, financed in part with $80 million in revenue bonds sold by a state authority.
The governor's revenue list includes $140 million in tax and lottery revenues; $40 million in additional revenues from fees and taxes, including $5 million garnered from a tax on out-of-state natural gas; $62 million from social services, which would be in part derived from preventing welfare fraud and abuse and reducing Medicaid costs; money culled from the proceeds of revenue bonds sold by the New York State Thruway Authority; and the restoring of $38 million in spending vetoed from the 1992 budget.
The new funds would provide $150 million in additional local school aid, $100 million in local government revenue sharing, and $113 million in spending restorations.
In addition, the governor presented a $345 million plan to provide New York City with mandate relief and revenues, including $87 million drawn from the $360 million spending pool.
About $50 million of the city's package would finance revenue sharing; $2 million would pay for probation services; $35 million would be earmarked for school aid; and $238 million would be generated by relief from state pending and program mandates.
The city would also see an additional $20 million in revenues because the state' Local Government Assistance Corp. sold more bonds than it had planned for last week, thus turning over to the city more school aid money from the bond proceeds. This in turn allows the city to reduce the size of its annual note borrowing and issuance costs, said a spokeswoman for the state' Division of the Budget.
Lawmakers have yet to deal with the city's request for $238 million in mandate relief and $90 million in restored state aid.