Welcome to Albany Watch, the new Gannett Albany bureau blog on state government and politics.
Just to let you know how on the ball we are, we spent most of the morning listening to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Gov. Eliot Spitzer talk and answer questions about the state-budget stalemate. But also to let you know that regarding the condition of budget negotiations, neither said much new.
Maybe most telling was that Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who wants to add billions in spending to Spitzer’s already plump ($120.6 billion) budget, cancelled a scheduled appearance before the group of editorial writers who also hosted the other two members of Albany’s ruling troika. The opinion leaders were all poised to ask him about his fuzzy-sounding math: how to give $2.6 billion from the state treasury as rebates to property taxpayers, but not count it as spending.
Just five days from the start of the new state fiscal year, there’s no reason for optimism that a spending plan will get done on time. Silver said a deal has to be struck by early Tuesday for bills to be printed and voted on before the deadline.