Crime could pay for the World University Games.
World Games organizers have been seriously considering a special lottery to help finance the 1993 event in Buffalo, and that idea got a push Wednesday when New York City Mayor David Dinkins called for a lottery to help pay for more police.
Assembly and Senate leaders said they expect other localities, such as Buffalo or Erie County, to seek a lottery if one is approved for New York City next year. Assembly Speaker Mel Miller, D-Brooklyn, said that could present problems for the Legislature.
But Miller and Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino, R-Muttontown, both expressed support for Dinkins' proposal, depending on the details.
Organizers of the World Games are expected to seek support for a lottery or some other additional aid from the state next year. Such a lottery was conducted to support the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.
"Can other communities do the same thing? There are an awful lot of questions we want to ask lottery officials," Marino said. "But we're not opposed to the concept. We're going to try to help (New York City) here."
State lottery officials have said that a special lottery for New York City or the World University Games should be structured so that the state will continue to collect a minimum amount from all lottery games.
Any revenues collected above that amount would go toward the special needs of New York City or, in Buffalo's case, the World Games.
Marino and Miller said the lottery proposal would probably be debated next year, not this month during the Legislature's on-again, off-again special session.
That session was to have begun Monday but was postponed Wednesday as legislators could not agree on Gov. Cuomo's plan for cutting state spending by more than $1 billion to avoid a deficit this year.
While Marino and Miller said negotiations were progressing, they let legislators return home.
Miller held out the possibility that legislators may not return before Dec. 17. That's when many legislators expect to vote on extending the taxes that support New York City area mass transit.
"We're making progress every hour," Marino said of the negotiations, which center on proposed cuts in state aid to schools and hospitals, although numerous other issues also are unresolved.
"The feeling is that there was some progress but not enough to say that we'rereally there," Miller said. "But we're trying."
At a news conference Wednesday, the governor said he did not disapprove of the legislators' departure. "All I need is the ability to pass (legislation) very, very quickly," he said.
"They haven't gotten to the moment of truth yet," he added, referring to his proposal to furlough most of the state's work force for five days without pay. Legislators have avoided the idea, saying it should be negotiated between the workers and the governor.
But the governor repeated his opposition to a compromise proposed by the public-employee unions: delay salary payments but return that "loan" to workers within three years.
Instead, Cuomo for the first time said he would consider a payroll lag that simply moved salary payments from one fiscal year into the next. That permanent lag would not cost the state any money and would be in addition to the two-week lag already imposed on state paychecks.
"The bottom line is I need $135 million," Cuomo said, referring to the estimated savings from the furlough. If an alternative cannot be found or the Legislature refuses to impose a furlough, Cuomo said more layoffs would be needed to balance the state budget.
He refused to say how many more workers would be at risk. The governor has already called for cutting 8,000 to 10,000 workers from the state payroll, including 2,000 by April.
Pink slips have already gone out to some of the 706 employees targeted for layoffs in the state prison system.
Cuomo said he would welcome an alternative plan from the Legislature to avoid the layoffs. So far, legislators have not been pressing their leaders to block the layoffs, legislators and union officials said.
The governor rejected suggestions by reporters that a payroll lag, as well as the furloughs, could be considered a budget gimmick. Elaborate schemes to borrow money from various state funds have been used to balance state budgets in recent years, and Cuomo vowed to avoid such gimmicks in balancing the state's projected deficit.