ALBANY, New York - July 30, 2008 - Warning of an approaching economic calamity, Gov. Paterson yesterday called an emergency session of the state Legislature - and raised the specter that New York may have to sell off roads, bridges and tunnels to close a massive budget deficit.
In a rare televised address, the Democratic governor cited "private-public partnerships" involving the sale of state assets - widely condemned by critics as fiscal gimmickry - as one way to stem a tide of red ink brought on by the sagging economy and woes on Wall Street.
"We can't wait and hope that this problem will resolve itself," Paterson said. "These times call for action, and today I promise you there will be action."
Profit-tax collections from the state's 16 biggest banks, which were at $173 million in June 2007, fell to $5 million last month, Paterson noted. That's a shocking 97 percent plunge.