Paterson: Budget 'framework' in place

March 27, 2008 8:26:44 PM PDT
Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders say they have agreed on the framework of a state budget deal that would increase spending about 4.5 percent and could meet Tuesday's start of the fiscal year. Much work remains to be done to have an on-time budget, but the broad parameters were agreed to between the Democratic governor in just his second week on the job and the majority and minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly.

The 2008-09 budget would total about $124 billion. Paterson's budget office said the increase from the current budget has yet to be calculated, but would likely be between 4 percent and 4.5 percent. Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno estimates the growth at about 4.7 percent.

The handshake deal doesn't include a tax increase for New Yorkers making $1 million or more, as had been proposed by the Assembly.

"We don't have a plan to raise taxes," Bruno said at a Thursday night announcement.

That measure was supported by Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, but opposed by Bruno.

They didn't say how much school aid would increase. That, along with other specific spending areas, will be debated among lawmakers beginning Friday.

The increased spending in the state budget has decreased since former Gov. Eliot Spitzer presented his first budget proposal in January. That hasn't happened in decades. Paterson said "the terrible truth" about New York's economy in a national recession forced the change.