Gov. Cuomo Warns Of Budget Shutdown (VIDEO)
With the April 1 deadline to pass a state budget looming, Gov. Cuomo warned New Yorkers that the government could stop running.
With eight days to go until the April 1 budget deadline, Cuomo unveiled a web video vowing that the possibility of New York's first ever government shutdown won't force him back off his political mandate.
"If the Legislature fails to pass a budget on time, the government will not have the funds to operate and it may be forced to shut down," Cuomo says in the 2-minute, 43-second video.
"I don't want it to happen. I will do all I can do to get the budget accomplished, Cuomo said. "I'm working very hard to cooperate with the Legislature. But in the end I will not compromise on the important work that you elected me to do, and I will not back down from my promise to the people of this great state."
"My job is to deliver a budget that makes this state work for the people once again," Cuomo said in the video. "Not for the special interests, not for the lobbyists, but for you."
Cuomo said that if a budget agreement cannot be reached by the April 1 deadline, he will send his budget plans to the legislature in emergency bills that would keep the government running. That means lawmakers would either have to pass Cuomo's budget, or face a government shutdown.
Battle lines were drawn earlier this week when the Assembly proposed an income-tax surcharge on New Yorkers who earn more than $1 million a year. The tax would bring in $700 million and replace an existing surcharge on residents who earn more than $200,000 that expires at the end of the year. The revenue would be used to restore funding to schools and senior centers in New York City.
The Assembly speaker [Sheldon Silver] signaled that the tax, which is staunchly opposed by Cuomo and the Senate, is not crucial.
"I don't draw lines in the sand; everything is open, and everything is negotiable," Silver said. "There's still time to persuade our colleagues that makes sense."
Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he was confident a compromise would be struck before a government shutdown was necessary. He also took a jab at Cuomo for threatening the legislature.
"I think we all understand the governor has a tremendous amount of power," Skelos said. "But the idea is to use your power to govern and effect a compromise and get a result. That's what leadership is about."
The budget debate comes at the same time that Congress is working to pass a national budget that would fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.
That debate has also centered around deep cuts, but the tone amongst Republicans and Democrats on the national stage has been much harsher and less conciliatory.
It remains to be seen if either Cuomo, Democrats or Republicans in the legislature will sharpen their attacks as the threat of a shutdown looms closer.
WATCH the governor's speech: