Republican state senators in New York further roiled the already precarious budget negotiations in Albany yesterday by moving to approve their own gap-closing bills.
"As of now, there is no agreement [between the governor and lawmakers] and the senators are going ahead to pass their bills," Justin McCarthy, a spokesman for the Senate, said yesterday.
But as of yesterday evening, while the bills had been debated, none had been passed. The Senate is expected to remain in Albany over the weekend to work on budget bills, if necessary. The Assembly, meanwhile, decided yesterday to recess until tomorrow, and then they are expected to be on call to convene throughout the weekend.
Senate Majority Leader Ralph J. Marino, r-Muttontown, warned on Monday that if no progress was made on budget negotiations yesterday with Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and the Democrat-controlled Assembly, he would give the green light to the 35 Republicans in the 61-member Senate to pass budget bills.
The new Speaker of the Assembly, Saul Weprin, D-Queens, said he has reviewed the Senate bills and concluded that they save only $2.5 billion.
A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo said, "Clearly the Wall Street raters will probably not look favorably upon this action and further delay. Another drop in our ratings could sink this state, making it difficult, if not impossible, to conduct financings that are needed to operate this state."
State lawmakers have been embroiled in fractious debate over how to close a $875 million budget gap projected for fiscal 1992, which ends March 31, and a $3.6 billion gap forecast for fiscal 1993. While both chambers are exploring multiyear plans, they are nowhere near agreement.
Sen. Marino on Saturday presented his own $4.5 billion plan to deal with the budget gaps over a 15-month period. Mr. Marino's plan includes a call for about $1.8 billion in savings in the state's Medicaid and welfare programs and no new taxes.
The Assembly has only offered sketchy details of a gap-closing plan, including a proposal for only $1.1 billion of Medicaid savings.