New York State government could shut down next week for the first time ever.
The state budget is more than two months late. Since April, the government has been kept running on a week-to-week basis by temporary spending bills, or extenders.
But as budget negotiations go nowhere, Governor Paterson has begun making it harder for lawmakers to rely on the extenders by including items they're reluctant to pass.
This week, his spending bill included $385 million in cuts to health care. Paterson's plan for next week is expected to include a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes.
The past three weeks, not a single republican has voted yes on the bills. Now two democratic state senators are threatening to vote against this extender.
If that's the case when lawmakers vote Monday, state government could shut down, unless one or more republicans votes for the bill.
If it fails, courtrooms, unemployment offices, highway rest stops and the state terrorism hot line could all close.
"That is not a sound bite. That is not a joke. Shutting down government means there is no one to pay the prison guards, no one to pay the state police, no one to pay the emergency workers," said Paterson.