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Paterson unveils $134 billion budget

Rochester Business Journal
January 19, 2010

Gov. David Paterson on Tuesday unveiled his 2010-11 executive budget, a $134 billion plan that increases spending by 0.6 percent, and closes a $7.4 billion deficit with the help of $1.1billion in cuts to school aid and $1 billion to health care, as well as trimming $1 billion in agency spending.

“Since the day I became governor, I have warned that New York is facing an inevitable fiscal reckoning,” Paterson said in a statement. “There are no more easy answers. We cannot keep spending money that we do not have.”

The budget includes increases of $1 billion in taxes and fees, including a $1 per pack hike for a cigarettes and a tax of a penny per ounce on sugared beverages, Paterson said.

The executive budget does not do enough to get the state’s 800,000 unemployed back to work or to reduce the tax burden, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua said.

“Governor Paterson’s budget took some baby steps toward fiscal responsibility but did not go far enough to reduce the crushing cost of state government on New York’s overtaxed, overburdened taxpayers who are hurting and need help,” Kolb said in a statement.

“In ordinary times, this would be a good start, but these are extraordinary times. New York needed a budget that delivers more jobs and lower taxes. With these priorities as the measuring stick, the governor’s budget did not do enough, or go far enough, to deliver the real change our state needs and New Yorkers have been demanding.”

The Unshackle Upstate coalition of businesses over the weekend urged Paterson and legislative leaders to submit a budget in the range of $77.5 billion, without increases in taxes, fees or spending.

“Unshackle Upstate is troubled that the budget recommends $1.4 billion in new taxes, including $240.2 million in increased assessments on hospital, nursing home and home care services, as well as increased surcharges on hospital visits and certain medical services,” said Brian Sampson, the organization’s Rochester-based executive director, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

“It is now up to the legislature to pass a budget that cuts spending and reduces taxes. Anything less is simply unacceptable.”

The Business Council of New York State Inc. said in a statement that Paterson’s budget moves the state in the right direction by restraining spending, but that proposed tax increases would be damaging in the current economic climate.

“We urge the legislature to follow his lead and adopt a no-growth budget, and avoid adding spending and taxes which our economy cannot afford,” Business Council president and CEO Kenneth Adams said in a statement.

Paterson and leaders of the state Assembly and state Senate now will negotiate budget details, with an April 1 deadline for passage by the state Legislature.

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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