New York State Coalition For Aging

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April 1, 2002 -- Gov. Pataki and the state Legislature have managed to extend a dubious tradition to its 18th consecutive year by their failure to produce a budget on time today, the start of a new fiscal year. Despite post-Sept. 11 promises by all the parties in Albany to begin a new era of bipartisanship, talks over a timely budget in 2002 failed due to squabbling. "I am very frustrated and very kind of exasperated," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who insisted Senate Republicans did everything they could to make a deal. Pataki, who campaigned in 1994 on a promise to enact on-time budgets, blamed lawmakers for the eight years of budget failures during his two terms. "I'm disappointed the Legislature hasn't enacted a budget by April 1st," he said. The Democrats in charge of the Assembly, meanwhile, have become more and more insistent that a late budget is preferable to one that doesn't include enough money for social spending, especially on schools. "We always seem to have a problem getting this governor to understand that we have to deal with our future, and we do it with education," said Herman Farrell Jr. (D-Manhattan), who chairs the state Assembly's Ways and Means Committee. There are no penalties to the governor or legislators for failing to bring in a new budget on time. There was even less suspense this year than usual about whether the Legislature and governor might strike an 11th-hour deal on a new budget. Lawmakers haven't even been in session since March 26. AP