Editor’s Note: To comment on this story, visit the Capitol Confidential blog.ALBANY — As he has threatened, Gov. David Paterson on Sunday said he is withholding $750 million in local aid that had been scheduled to go out starting Tuesday. The move was prompted by a looming shortfall for the current fiscal year that’s estimated to reach between $500 million to $1 billion.
The delays include more than $500 million in scheduled school aid payments and $112million to cities and counties. Additionally, the governor will hold back $47 million set to go to health insurance firms that cover state employees. That change, however, should have no direct impact on those workers.”I can’t say this enough: The state has run out of money,” Paterson said during a news conference in New York City to announce the move.
The delay of $750 million will be combined with short-term borrowing of $250 million from a series of other state accounts — including the so-called “rainy-day fund,” a step that critics have previously said Paterson should take to avert budget cuts.
Paterson stressed that these are payment delays rather than cuts, although he hasn’t ruled out imposing them as reductions in his 2010-2011 budget proposal, which is slated to be released next month.
His move could provoke a lawsuit involving the state Senate, whose members have been battling the governor over budgetary issues.
That fight continued Sunday at the governor’s news conference, where he noted that “many legislators, not all of them” made an irresponsible choice by failing to address the full deficit earlier this month, when leaders reached at agreement to close $2.7 billion of the $3.2 billion estimated deficit for the current fiscal year.
The Legislature, under pressure from powerful teachers unions and school lobbyists, refused to cut any school aid midyear. School officials contended the midyear cuts would force layoffs and hurt instruction.
“The question is, who is going to wake up and face reality and who is going to continue sleeping on the job?” Paterson said.
“Constantly attacking the Legislature is easy, but it doesn’t solve people’s problems,” said Austin Shafran, spokesman for Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson. “New Yorkers don’t want political rancor or self-indulgent theatrics; they want their leaders to work together to get things done.”
The governor’s move could force some towns, cities, counties and school districts to borrow money in the short term in order to cover their costs, which include salaries, benefits and a large payment for their retirees’ pensions.
Some localities could in turn be forced to raise local property taxes to cover the cost of borrowing. While most city and county budgets already are set for the coming year, school budgets aren’t developed and voted on until the spring.
The $750 million will eventually be paid as revenues roll into state coffers — but there is no timetable for that. “This is a cash-management action,” said Matt Anderson, spokesman for the Budget Division.
January typically brings a boost in state revenue due to income taxes on Wall Street bonuses, but it remains unclear if those payments have sufficiently recovered from the financial market collapse of a year ago.
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Others, though, said holding back the payments makes sense, given the state’s fiscal situation.
“If the funds are not available to make these payments at this time, then they should not be made,” said Elizabeth Lynam, deputy research director for the Citizens Budget Commission, in an e-mail.
The school delay is twofold: $436 million held back from school districts for the cost of the School Tax Reduction, or STAR, property tax break given to homeowners; and $146 million in regular school aid.
Also, the governor is holding back $76 million in human services costs to counties and $45 million to cities.
The amounts that were originally scheduled to be paid were as follows: $2.3 billion for STAR; $1.5 billion in school aid; $450 million in payments to cities through the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities program; $398 million to counties for human services reimbursements; and $247 million in payments to health insurers.
Together, they total $4.9 billion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report; Rick Karlin can be reached at 454-5758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=877570&TextPage=2#ixzz0ZhMERsWS “————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–ELIJAH MUHAMMAD(MESSAGE TO THE BLACKMAN IN AMERICA)–“A PROGRAM FOR SELF-DEVELOPMENT
We must remember that we just cannot depend on the white race ever to do that which we can and should do for self. The American so-called Negroes are like the Bible story of Lazarus and the rich man, the story that Jesus must have foreseen at the time. This Bible beggar was charmed by the wealth of the rich man to whom he was a servant, and he could not make up his mind to go seek something for self.
This beggar was offered a home in Paradise but could not make up his mind to leave the gate of his master, the rich man, wishing for that which God had in store for destruction along with its owner. The beggar=s eyes could not turn from that perishable wealth. So it is with the American Negroes; they are charmed by the luxury of their slave-master, and cannot make up their minds to seek for self something of this good earth, though hated and despised by the rich man and full of sores caused by the evil treatment of the rich man. On top of that he is chased by the rich man=s dogs and still remains a beggar at the gate, though the gates of Paradise were ever open to him and the gates of hell were open to receive his rich master. The American Negroes have the same gates of Paradise open to them but are charmed by the wealth of America and cannot see the great opportunity that lies before them. They are suffering untold injustices at the hands of the rich; they have been and still are being lynched and burned; they and their women and children are beaten all over the country, by the rich slave-masters and their children. The slaves= houses and churches are bombed by the slave-masters; their girls are used as prostitutes and at times are raped in public. Yet the Negroes are on their knees begging the rich man to treat them as the rich man treats himself and his kind. The poor beggar kindly asks for the crumbs, a job and a house in the neighborhood of the rich man.
The Negro leaders are frightened to death and are afraid to ask for anything other than a job. The good things of this earth could be theirs if they would only unite and acquire wealth as the masters and the other independent nations have. The Negroes could have all of this if they could get up and go to work for self. They are far too lazy as a Nation — 100 years up from slavery and still looking to the master to care for them and give them a job, bread and a house to live in on the master=s land. You should be ashamed of yourselves, surely the white race has been very good in the way of making jobs for their willing slaves, but this cannot go on forever; we are about at the end of it and must do something for SELF or else. The slave-master has given you enough education to go and do for self, but this education is not being used for self; it is even offered back to the slave-masters to help them to keep you a dependent people looking to them for support. Let us unite every good that is in us for the uplifting of the American so-called Negroes to the equal of the world=s independent nations. Ask for a start for self and the American white people, I believer, are willing to help give us a start if they see you and I are willing to do for self. It would remove from them not only the worry of trying to give jobs and schools to a lazy people but also would get them honor and sincere friendship all over the Asiatic world and God, Himself, would prolong their time on the earth.
We must stop relying upon the white man to care for us. We must become an independent people. So-called Negroes should:
. Separate yourselves from the slave-master.
. Pool your resources, education and qualifications for independence.
. Stop forcing yourselves into places where you are not wanted.
. Make your own neighborhood a decent place to live.
. Rid yourselves of the lust of wine and drink and learn to love self and your kind before loving others.
. Unite to create a future for yourself.
. Build your own homes, schools, hospitals, and factories.
. Do not seek to mix your blood through racial integration.
Stop buying expensive cars, fine clothes and shoes before being able to live in a fine home.
. Spend your money among yourselves.
. Build an economic system among yourselves.
. Protect your women.
Stop allowing the white men to shake hands or speak to your women anytime or anywhere. This practice has ruined us. They wink their eye at your daughter after coming into your home — but you cannot go on the North side and do the same with his women.
No black man feels good — by nature — seeing a white man with a Negro woman. We have all colors in our race — red, yellow, brown, and jet black — why should we need a white person?
Africans would not dare allow their women to be the targets that we allow ours to be.
If I were not protected by Allah (God), how would I be able to stand before this white man unafraid and speak as I do.
You educators, you Christian ministers should stop preaching integration. The most foolish thing an educator can do is to preach interracial marriage. It shows the white man you want to be white.
Educators should teach our people of the great history that was theirs before they were brought to America in shackles by slave-masters.
Our children should be trained in our own schools, not dropped into the schools of the enemy where they are taught that whites have been and forever will be world rulers.
I am the first man since the death of Yakub commissioned by God directly. I say no more than what Jesus said. The said that he came from God. I say that I am missioned by God”