Archive for March, 2010

“Heads Up!” Budget Delay Halts Construction Projects, School Funds

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

As reported by the New York Post today:

Gov. David Paterson is suspending hundreds of current and new construction projects because of the state’s budget woes, including a highway to Fort Drum and a major interchange on Long Island.

Paterson administration officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that all projects not paid for by federal economic stimulus funds will be delayed until the Legislature and the governor agree on a 2010-11 budget or emergency funding.

The extraordinary order also tells contractors on existing projects that the state won’t fund any work after the start of the new fiscal year on Thursday until there is a budget or emergency funds. The soonest that could happen is April 7, when the Legislature returns.

Other Budget-Related Developments

Paterson delays $2.1 billion payment to schools (Albany Times Union)

Governor’s Statement (NYS Office of the Governor)

U.S. Census and Health Care Updates

Pols, cons fight Census Bureau to include prisoners as residents of city, not upstate jails (Daily News)

The Last Piece in Place (The New York Times)

Consumers’ Big Question: What’s in It for Me? (The New York Times)


“Heads Up!” Legislators Pass Emergency Budget Before Recess

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

As reported in The New York Times today:

The State Senate approved emergency legislation on Monday to keep essential government services functioning after the March 31 budget deadline, an indication that lawmakers do not expect to quickly reach a budget deal with Gov. David A. Paterson.

The Assembly passed the same legislation on Friday evening. Neither the Senate nor the Assembly is scheduled to be in session until next week, though staff members responsible for budget matters are likely to continue to negotiate privately in the days ahead.

More on the State Budget

Late? Bills Keep Tap On (Capitol Confidential)

Ravitch Predicting Budget in Place by June 1 (WNYC)

Why Senate Democrats Sound Like Republicans on the Budget (The New York Times)

Mental Health Parity in New Federal Law

Mental Health Experts Applaud Focus on Parity (The New York Times)

“Heads Up!” No End to Budget Impasse

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Fixes to Health Care Overhaul Pass Both Houses

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

As reported by The New York Times:

Congress on Thursday gave final approval to a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care overhaul, capping a bitter partisan battle over the most far-reaching social legislation in nearly half a century.

In a fitting finale to the yearlong health care saga, the budget reconciliation measure that included the final changes was approved first by the Senate and then by the House on a tumultuous day at the Capitol, as lawmakers raced to complete their work ahead of a two-week recess.

The bill, which Democratic leaders hailed as a landmark achievement, now goes to President Obama for his signature.

See the Legal Action Center’s earlier post for details on the expanded coverage.

“Heads Up!” On-Time Budget Looks Unlikely

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Statehouse

Despite both the Assembly and Senate’s passage of budget resolutions this week, prospects for an on-time budget are slim to none. The governor has submitted a “bare bones” budget plan to keep vital state operations running past the State budget deadline, March 31. As of Thursday afternoon, Dan Weiller, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said that the chamber would consider Paterson’s extender on Friday, according to the Albany Times Union’s Capitol Confidential blog.

For more news on budget proceedings, see these other articles:

Sampson not thinking about extenders yet (

State budget will likely be late (

Read more…

“Heads Up!” Council Members Form Progressive Caucus

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

As reported in the New York Times, a newly formed group of Council Members known as the Progressive Caucus is expected to be announced at today’s stated meeting of the City Council.

Twelve Council members have already indicated they will join the caucus: Annabel Palma of the Bronx; Letitia James and Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn; Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan; Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras and James G. Van Bramer of Queens; and Deborah Rose of Staten Island.  Council Members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Melissa Mark-Viverito of Manhattan are the apparent leaders.

The caucus is working on a set of by-laws; however it has already drawn up a “statement of principles” that include creating an economic policy platform that focuses on living-wage jobs and paid sick days, strengthening rent regulations, creating more housing for the poor, emphasizing police accountability and community input in criminal justice, supporting same-sex marriage and pushing for more accountability in budgeting and contracts.

Action Alert! Senate Moves to Cut Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From our partners in the Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Providers coalition (ASAP).

The Senate passed a budget resolution earlier this week that reduces funding to the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) by millions of dollars. It is expected that the Assembly will soon pass its own resolution, and that the two chambers would then conference to come up with compromise budget that would be sent to the governor.

With the worsening state fiscal picture, we have been focusing our efforts on trying to keep what the governor proposed for OASAS. It is critical that everyone calls their Senator (518-455-2800) and Assembly member (518-455-4100) with the message that we cannot afford to cutting OASAS at a time when we are trying to address implementation of drug law reform and an increasing number of deaths related to opiate overdoses. Please make those calls TODAY.

Read more…