Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Budget jabs for Spitzer, Bruno

Newsday

my guess is Bruno is prepared to cave in pretty fast.....alot of public posturing...and huffing and puffing....but what is the bottom line??? watch the hands...not the mouth as Suozzi is fond of saying..........andy

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno traded new and biting charges of fiscal irresponsibility yesterday - two weeks before the deadline for a new budget - even as both expressed hope of reaching an agreement in time.Spitzer said that to call the Senate's counterproposal to his $120.6-billion plan "Enron-style accounting, is to be unfair to Enron." He asserted, "Adoption of their proposal would be ruinous to the state."Bruno (R-Brunswick) derided Spitzer's remarks as "sad, unfortunate and not surprising" and characterized the governor as opposed to property tax rebates, tax cuts to create jobs and "restorations to ensure patient care."The rift appears wide for the moment, with the Assembly's Democratic speaker, Sheldon Silver, staking out a fiscal position somewhere between the Senate's and the governor's.By the Senate Republicans' account, they are looking to restore potentially harmful funding cuts to hospitals and nursing homes, increase Long Island's share of school aid funds, and halt tax hikes that Spitzer describes as closing tax loopholes.Spitzer contends the Senate plan would bloat spending by $3 billion, wipe out cash reserves and cut funds for staffing anti-fraud efforts in the Medicaid program and other health-related initiatives that go with the governor's $1.3 billion in cost reductions in that area.In an unusual turn yesterday, new state Sen. Craig Johnson of Port Washington was one of two out of 29 Senate Democrats to side with the majority Republicans in voting for the part of Bruno's proposal that adds $358 million in school aid."I acted in the best interests of the residents of my district and acted in the best interests of Long Island," he said afterward. The other Democratic "yes" vote came from Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, who, like Johnson, is a rookie lawmaker in a seat long held by Republicans.On Monday all the Democrats voted as a bloc in favor of Spitzer's controversial Medicaid proposal.Asked about an April 1 agreement, opposing leaders said that remains possible. "We want an on-time budget result that meets the needs of the people," Bruno said yesterday. On Monday Spitzer said, "Right now there's time to bridge chasms that may be significant."

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