The importance of the upcoming budget negotiations for Mr. Paterson was apparent throughout the day. In a radio appearance Thursday morning, he said he had not been heavily involved in drafting Governor Spitzer’s budget and would have to work quickly to gain command of the issue.
“I kind of feel like the student who’s getting ready for the final exam but they didn’t attend any classes,” he said in a radio broadcast on Fred Dicker’s radio program on Talk 1300 AM in Albany.
Mr. Paterson said he had been involved in other tasks while Mr. Spitzer ironed out a budget proposal and said he would rely on “those who have done this before, including Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver.”
Reaching a budget compromise is almost never easy in Albany, and the task could be particularly difficult this year with the state facing a $4.4 billion deficit. To some extent, the budget is moving forward under its own momentum. Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell Jr., the Manhattan Democrat who heads the Assembly budget committee, said the Senate and the Assembly have just passed their modifications to the governor’s budget proposal. Conference committees, which will iron out a compromise, are scheduled to begin on Monday.
“It’s not going to be easy because he has 40,000 things he has to deal with,” Mr. Farrell said of Mr. Paterson. But he said the incoming governor was familiar with the process from long experience as a legislator and “I am comfortable in that he can come up to speed on it.”
-Paterson Faces Early Test With State Budget
Memos to the Governor-Introduction to State Budgeting
Dall W. Forsythe, Foreword by Governor Mario M. Cuomo
How a Blind Man Will Lead a State