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Deficit Reduction Reaction
October 15th, 2009

Gov. David Paterson has released a deficit reduction plan that would cut $ 5 billion from the state budget over the course of two years. Education and health care are hit the hardest by the cuts. Paterson said he expects “harsh criticism” for his proposal and it has arrived.

Education and health care advocates are angry. The Alliance for Quality Education and Campaign for Fiscal Equity released a joint statement blasting the $686 million in cuts to education as “damaging” and “short-sighted.”

The Greater New York Hospital Association and Service Employees International Union attacked the plan, saying that the health care system has already faced drastic overhaul and cuts by the state.

“Given the more than $2 billion in cuts New Yorks health care community has suffered in the past two years, coupled with the enormous, everyday financial stress health care providers face even in the best of economic times, todays proposed cuts will be aggressively opposed with every resource at our disposal,” the press release warned.

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos said that he was “pleased” to see Paterson’s plan but called it “unfortunate” that the Democratic leadership in the legislature has yet to present any cost cutting plans. The Senate Republicans released their own plan yesterday.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued a press release saying Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Herman Farrell will hold hearings on reducing the deficit later this month.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to making the necessary decisions to put the state on secure financial footing,” Silver said in the statement. “We look forward to working with the Governor and with the Senate to address this very serious issue.”

Sen. Carl Kruger, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, issued this statement:

The Senate remains committed to generating a fiscally prudent deficit reduction proposal that promotes lasting economic growth and does not place any additional burden on taxpayers.

Three weeks ago, the Senate first began working with the Governors office and other legislative leaders to develop a responsible and prudent plan to close the budget gap. We will do so without imposing new taxes and we must preserve our states vital services in these difficult times.

Though no information was provided to us beforehand, now that the Governor has met his constitutional responsibilities, the Senate Finance Committee will determine if the Governors proposals are fiscally prudent and deserve further consideration.

The scope of the budget deficit is still unclear, and we require an accurate fiscal forecast based on the mid-year report to be released in two weeks. Once that information has been provided, the Senate will continue to move forward by holding budget hearings and further negotiations with the Executive and other legislative leaders.

By on October 15, 2009, 2:19 pm
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