Gov. David Paterson talks to reporters about the state budget...

Gov. David Paterson talks to reporters about the state budget at the Capitol, Wednesday. (June 23, 2010) Credit: AP

ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson finished issuing 6,709 vetoes Friday of spending added to the budget by lawmakers, the most of any modern New York chief executive.

The large number of vetoes was due to Paterson striking out legislative pork-barrel grants to not-for-profit groups. The grants totaled about $200 million. They were awarded a couple of years ago but needed to be reauthorized in the legislative budget bills passed Monday.

The vetoes and continued uncertainty over the $136-billion budget overshadowed passage of key legislation. Paterson indicated Friday he would sign into law the bills making New York the last state to permit no-fault divorce and the first to give workplace benefits to nannies and other domestic workers.

Paterson aide Morgan Hook said the vetoes would be sent to the legislature next week. Whether they are overridden is in doubt because the Assembly adjourned at 11:53 Thursday night without deciding what to do, sources told Newsday.

The bills passed the Assembly first, so it must begin the override process. A two-thirds vote in each house is required to nullify a veto.

Asked when the Assembly would reconvene, Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said, "I have no idea. If the federal government passes . . . a teacher bill and we have to apportion education aid." He did not mention veto overrides.

Despite grumbling by some Assembly members, Silver contended they would not bow to demands from the State Senate in return for three months' back pay. Lawmakers haven't received salaries since blowing the April 1 deadline for budget adoption. The Senate's refusal to pass the final budget bill means paychecks cannot be issued.

Assembly members "come here to work because they believe in representing their constituents and they believe in things," Silver said. "They're not going to do things differently as a result of being paid or not being paid."

The Senate's Democratic majority is holding out for a reserve fund in case New York doesn't receive $1 billion in promised federal health care aid, autonomy for SUNY and CUNY, and restoration of $600 million of Paterson's $1.5-billion cut in school aid.

The governor's veto of additional school aid torpedoed Senate Democrats' hope for property tax relief. And several senators, including Brian X. Foley of Blue Point, won't vote for the budget bill until the SUNY/CUNY issue is resolved.

Senate Democrats haven't secured the 10 Republican votes needed to override the vetoes, despite the claim of Democratic chief John Sampson.

His spokesman Austin Shafran said Friday, "Senator Sampson wants to bring the governor and speaker together to close down the budget process while providing for a [Medicaid] contingency plan and higher education reform."

Among the bills approved Thursday - the last day of the regular legislative session - were ones lifting limits on scalping tickets for events, and renaming a Shelter Island road for Lt. Joseph J. Theinert, who was killed in Afghanistan last month.

What lawmakers accomplished

The State Legislature adjourned Thursday. Some of what it accomplished:

Number of bills passed (from Jan. 6 through July 1)

Senate: 1,119

Assembly: 1,196

  • Notable bills receiving final passage on Thursday
  • Authorize no-fault divorce to end marriages.
  • Reinstates until May 15, 2011, the unlimited price scalping of tickets sold in the secondary market for sports, entertainment and cultural events.
  • Give first-in-the-nation benefits for nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers including one day of rest per week, overtime pay and protection from discrimination.
  • Permit unmarried adult couples to adopt a child.
  • Name a portion of Route 114 on Shelter Island after Lt. Joseph J. Theinert who was killed in Afghanistan last month.
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