Paterson to Proceed with Furlough Plan

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Gov. David Paterson says he’s made up his mind to go through with a one-day-a-week furlough for unionized state workers and force a potential show down with New York's legislature.

“I have decided that I will include the furloughs in next week’s emergency appropriations,” Paterson says.

If lawmakers do not pass the emergency spending authorization containing the furloughs, then government would shut down on Monday.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was non-committal about what the Assembly might do.

“When we see it, we’ll deal with it,” Silver says.

The Speaker says it’s the governor’s job to manage the state workforce and negotiate with the unions.

“I do agree that we have to have some savings from the state workforce,” Silver says. “I think the governor should be sitting and negotiating those savings.”

Paterson says he’s tried to wring concessions out of the unions to meet his goal of $250 million in savings, but says union leaders have been uncooperative.

“They have given us nothing,” Paterson says. “You can’t say ‘nuts’ to everything.”

Paterson is referring to CSEA President Danny Donohue’s initial one word response to the furlough proposal. Donohue issued a 46 word response this time, saying, in part, that Paterson is “creating more chaos and crisis in leadership,” and that the union is “prepared to respond to the governor’s actions."

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson predicted that his house would approve the emergency spending measures with the furloughs, even though he says he believes the governor’s plan is "illegal."

“I’m not going to shut government down at all,” Sampson says. “That is the bottom line.”

Silver says there’s always a chance that there could be a state budget in place before the next emergency extenders are due on May 10. The budget is now more than a month late. Silver, who is said to be annoyed by the Senate’s passage of a charter school expansion bill without consulting the Assembly, took a shot at Senate Democrats, blaming them for the stalemate.

“Every day you get a different signal from the other house as to what’s important to them and what’s not important to them,” Silver says.

Senate Leader Sampson had a different take on budget talks, saying staffs are working, and that they are “making progress."