ALBANY, NY (WKBW) -- Local lawmakers tell Eyewitness News today that a deal may be in the works in Albany to finalize the state budget. Governor Paterson met with leaders in Albany Wednesday morning, where Senate Republican Minority Leader Dean Skelos suggested his members would vote against upcoming temporary budget extenders, which could lead to a shut down in state government operations.
Monday, lawmakers passed the tenth emergency spending bill which included millions of dollars in cuts to health care. Some Leaders in Albany fear more cuts will come in the next emergency spending bill, which has prompted lawmakers to get together on the budget. The governor also added he will put more cuts into the 11th emergency budget extender, this time to mental health and social services. It was initially thought Paterson would thought the governor would impose an array of taxes in the extender, including a $1 increase on each cigarette pack sold.
"I'm going to make cuts in human services and mental health," said Paterson. "I want you to vote for them, because there are no taxes or fees."
Although there are rumblings of an agreement in the future, many lawmakers are still frustrated with how business is being handled in the capital, saying many deals have been done in private. Skelos earlier complained that Republicans have been excluded from secret budget negotiations between the governor and Democratic leaders, and has vowed that Republicans would vote against any legislation with tax hikes, according to the Albany Times Union.
"How do you work together if you're not included in the negotiations?" said Skelos. "How do we work together, if you continue to violate the budget reform act of 2007 by not having open conference committee meetings?"
With the threat of a government shut down and fears of more forced cuts with upcoming budget extenders, the rumors are circulating that a deal could be reached by the end of the week.