Paterson's budget cuts on hold until he issues full plan

By the end of a contentious meeting between Gov. David Paterson and state leaders Tuesday, the governor agreed to hand over a budget plan before a vote on his proposed cuts will be held.
The cuts target areas such as education and health care. Paterson says the budget cuts are necessary since the state has a nearly $2 billion deficit. The special session was held Tuesday to specifically address the cuts, but turned into a spectacle of across-the-aisle finger pointing.
Paterson had refused to bring budget bills to the Republican-controlled Senate led by Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), convinced they would not pass. Skelos, however, insisted he didn?t know how his party members would vote. Likely incoming Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) says Skelos is playing games with votes and knew his party would have rejected Paterson?s cuts.
"Skelos is not interested in passing bills,? Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says, ?He's interested in passing the buck.?
Skelos says Paterson?s cuts will damage education and put New Yorkers in an even worse financial situation. Since Paterson?s budget cut announcement, Skelos has said he wants a clearer picture of the state?s fiscal health for next year before going forward with any cuts.
Paterson offered Skelos a warning when it comes to his 2009 budget plan, which he will release Dec. 16: "Let me tell you in advance senator, it is grim."
Long Islanders were among the thousand-plus demonstrators who went to Albany to protest the governor's proposed budget cuts.
AP wire reports contributed to this article.
Click for Long Islanders? reaction to the budget battle
To see footage from the special session, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.