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State Legislature leaders downplay government shutdown talk

File Photo
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Democratic leaders in the state Legislature held a closed-door meeting Thursday on the late state budget.

There are concerns some dissident Democrats may vote against the next emergency spending bill -- a move that could shut down state government. One, Senator Ruben Diaz, tells The Associated Press he'll vote against the emergency bill because he is opposed to the cuts in human services it is expected to include.

But Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson is expressing confidence that all his members will act responsibly and make sure state government continues to operate.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver agrees.

"I'm committed to not finding out what a shut down of government is. I think Senatgor Sampson is likewise," said Silver. "I think cooler heads will prevail. I don't know what the consequence of a shut down of government is. I don't want to find out."

Silver says he's optimistic a final budget could be approved in the next ten days.

In several radio interviews Thursday, Governor David Paterson said a government shutdown would create "anarchy." It would mean major cuts in the number of state troopers on duty, the end of a terrorism hot line and closed unemployment offices.