While addressing the special session of the State Legislature, Governor David Paterson made it clear that the state's budget problems were real—and that the lawmakers had to deal with it. Paterson, who has proposed $3 billion in cuts to, mostly, education and Medicaid, said, "I will mortgage my political career on this plan. We stand on the brink of a financial challenge of unprecedented magnitude in the history of this state. This is a historic moment. We’re going to have to make historic decisions." He also added, "Unless immediate action is taken, we are going to have challenges to our state financials and cash flow in 4½ weeks. Frankly, we're running out of money. Right now we stand on the brink of a financial challenge of unprecedented magnitude in the history of the state. That's not opinion, that's not exaggeration -- that's fact."
However, the Post notes that his 15-minute speech was "coolly received." That's because no lawmakers want to pass unpopular—if necessary—cuts. Yesterday, the Senate Democrats proposed a budget that doesn't offer any spending cuts; instead, there's refinancing of bonds, an extension of gambling hours and, as the NY Times puts it, "heavily on raiding funds from public authorities." Nonprofit group Citizens Budget Commission's Elizabeth Lynam said of that plan, "If that’s all they do tomorrow, it would be terribly irresponsible. It’s 75 percent one-shots."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said, "To do nothing is not a solution. The only way to try to get ahead of it, which we haven’t done for many months now, is to deal with the cuts. Everything has to be on the table." Still, one senior Democrat told the Post, "This is a cash flow problem that can be managed, not a crisis for the state." But Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch was doubtful, "We’re going to fall off a cliff unless we get our revenues and our expenditures in true sync."