Unless there's a major boost to the economy, it looks like both the city and state governments will be looking for unconventional ways to balance their budgets next year and beyond. Also, the cash-strapped MTA needs to find $35 million in savings, but incoming MTA head Joe Lhota said that won't mean extra service cuts or fare hikes as long as government funding doesn't dry up. Here's a look at what to expect in politics and transit in 2012:
• Another showdown is expected between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature, which must pass a state budget by April 1. The fiscal-year 2013 budget deficit could reach $3.5 billion, Cuomo has warned.
• State lawmakers must redraw legislative boundaries based on new population data, but Cuomo has threatened to veto their maps because he wants an independent redistricting panel to do it.
• A commission under Cuomo is deciding whether to allow for full casino gambling in New York state. The legalization of casinos would require a multi-step
process if approved.
• All 150 seats in the state Assembly and 62 seats in the state Senate are on the line in the Nov. 6 election.
• The fate of indicted Brooklyn lawmakers could finally be decided: Carl Kruger, who resigned from the state Senate on Dec. 20 when he admitted to taking bribes, will be sentenced April 26; Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., also charged with bribery in November, is awaiting trial.
• With the city facing a $2 billion budget gap in fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will have to come up with cuts - potentially including layoffs and program closures - that also will satisfy City Council members.
• More candidates for the 2013 mayoral race will kick off their campaigns. Potential contenders include Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
• Another person eyeing City Hall is City Comptroller John Liu. But his campaign fundraising will be in the spotlight again in January with the scheduled hearing for Xing Wu Pan, a Liu fundraiser who is accused of breaking campaign-finance laws.
• A living-wage bill that would require certain city businesses to pay at least $10 an hour plus benefits may finally come up for a vote if Quinn allows it.
• Bloomberg will have to figure out how to handle a potentially reinvigorated Occupy Wall Street movement.