The Sidewalks of White Plains

Governor says no retreat, no surrender on budget. Says he will enforce budget, putting legislators' feet to the fire.

Says "zero-based" budget kills economic development for cities and counties, halts New York Cares housing for disabled, and stops environmental protection programs cold.

Holds Democratic Assembly and Republican Senate equally responsible. Calls their action "outrageous."

Pataki and Delfino
Governor George Pataki, with Mayor Joseph Delfino of White Plains, delivers strong message to legislature in the City Hall rotunda. PHOTO by WPCNR.

CityLine: August 6, 2001 -- City Hall Rotunda

Governor George Pataki, speaking extemporaneously in the stifling City Hall rotunda today, answered the State Assembly and Senate budget passed last week with a vow to keep the state running under the new budget as submitted by the legislature.

The Governor said he was having his legal counsel examine the state procedure in the strong suspicion that the legislature action was "unconstitutional." The governor, at this time, ruled out the possibility of bringing a lawsuit to invalidate the budget.

The governor called on the state lawmakers to return to Albany this week for talks on the budget, and strongly criticized both houses for passing it.

"The budget, passed last week by the legislature," the Governor said, "does not meet the needs of the people of New York State. The Senate and Assembly should not be taking six weeks off and should come back to Albany and finish the job."

"Their budget has zero funds for economic development. Not to be able to continue our state's (economic) progress (since 1995) is simply ridiculous. Their budget calls for zero funds for environmental protection. There is zero money for the New York State Cares program designed to build housing for the mentally disabled now living at home. I urge the legislature to come back to Albany and finish the job."

The governor defended his record of moving New York State from a 5 billion deficit in 1995 to its surplus today through his conservative economic policies, which he said he would not give up in face of the legislature action of last week.

The governor vowed that he would live with the budget they passed: "If this is their idea to force me into irresponsible spending, it is not going to happen. We'll make the government work."

Mr. Pataki chided both houses for choosing not to fund certain programs at all, instead of choosing to "refund programs at the level of last year. Cutting environmental protection from $125 million to zero is simply wrong."

"We're looking at the budget. I'm not going to think layoffs. I had my staff there. We were there and willing to participate in the process. There is no excuse for their (the legislators') action. It is outrageous."

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