New York lawmakers on Monday were expected to pass an emergency spending bill that counted on revenue from increased cigarette taxes.
Under a budget bill submitted by Gov. David Paterson, cigarette taxes would be increased by $1.60 per pack, raising the tax to $4.35 from $2.75. The increased tax revenue would raise a projected $440 million in fiscal 2011 and would be used to fund health care programs.
The state has been operating under weekly extender bills since lawmakers failed to pass a budget by the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1. In addition to operating funds to keep the government running, Monday’s extender included $100 million for non-emergency capital projects, $136.6 million for mass transportation operating assistance, and $245.9 million of revenue sharing with local governments under a program called Aid and Incentives for Municipalities.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office said that a bill authorizing paychecks to state workers needed to be passed by 6 p.m. Monday or he would not legally be able to issue them on time, the Associated Press reported.
Paterson has proposed a $135 billion budget that would have closed a $9.2 billion deficit, but the Legislature opposed some of his cuts, especially in education and health care.
It was not clear yesterday whether the Legislature would remain in session to pass a budget. The current legislative session was set to end Monday but without a budget, lawmakers would have to continue to pass weekly extender bills. Paterson last week said he would include more budget measures in the extender bills if a budget was not passed by June 28. The Legislature can only pass or reject extender bills submitted by the governor, raising the possibility of a government shutdown if the bills are not passed.
Paterson also has submitted budget bills for economic development, transportation, and other sectors. One proposal, reported by the Buffalo News citing a legislative memo accompanying Paterson’s bill, would authorize the state to sell sales tax bonds that included covenants allowing bondholders to sue if the state failed to balance its budget.