Gov. David Paterson said this morning he doesn’t expect the finally-passed 2010-2011 budget to fall far so far out of balance before the end of the year that state lawmakers would be forced to do return to Albany for a round of mid-year cuts.

“I’m comfortable with the budget that’s passed because even now if the budget slips out of balance, we can use the same contingency formula to cover that hole,” Paterson told WOR’s John Gambling.

“In other words, we’ve still got another, you know $730 million that we have apportioned in case something goes wrong,” the governor continued. “And I don’t think the budget could possibly fall more than a billion out of balance. So, I think this is one time we won’t have to close a gap later in the year.”

Paterson predicted that New York will receive some $730 million worth of aid from the Medicaid/education bill the US Senate is expected to vote on this week after breaking a long-standing GOP filibuster with the help of two moderate Maine Republicans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she’ll cut her members’ August recess short to return to Washington, D.C. and vote on the Senate bill.

The $730 million is about three-quarters of the $1.1 billion the state expected to receive and included in its original budget, Paterson said. Before departing Albany this week, the Legislature passed an FMAP contingency plan in case the federal cash didn’t come through.

Now that the plan is in place, Paterson said, the state will simply employ it to make across-the-board cuts – albeit smaller cuts than the up to 2 percent initially expected – to close the gap between the $730 million and the $1.1 billion.

The fact that there will not likely be a need for a mid-year deficit reduction plan does not mean Paterson won’t be calling the Legislature back to Albany before the end of the year, however.

The governor reiterated his threat to drag the Legislature back to the Capitol before the November general election – most likely in October, which is after the Sept. 14 primary – in hopes of getting the Assembly to take up the property tax cap bill passed with bipartisan support this week by the Senate (eight Democrats voted “no”).

“If the bill is not being put on the floor, there is some reason it is not being put on the floor, and I think the public has a right to know right before the election if there’s a reason,” Paterson said.