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State government shutdown looms large at leaders meeting


By Mark Scott


Buffalo, NY – The possibility that state government could shut down loomed large at yesterday's leaders meeting in Albany. The concern is two Democrats in the State Senate would align with a bloc of Republicans to reject a weekly emergency spending bill, leading to a government shutdown.

One of them, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr., later backed off, telling the Albany Times-Union that he will now vote for the next emergency bill.

Governor David Paterson said he will not include a proposed $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax to entice Republican support for the next emergency bill. But Skelos responded he fully expects some taxes will be raised eventually.

"The taxes, fees and borrowing are all coming," Skelos said.

"When they come, vote against them," Paterson said, as he slammed his hand on the table.

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson said after Wednesmeeting he would keep all 32 of his senators in line for next week's vote.