Paterson calls for more budget cuts

July 30, 2008 5:10:43 PM PDT
Gov. David Paterson has frozen most hiring, ordered an additional 7 percent cut in agency spending and called on the Legislature to approve $600 million in additional cuts to shore up state finances in a New York economy that his budget director says is "officially" in recession. Paterson on Wednesday proposed cutting state spending by a total of $1.23 billion in the current budget to offset a "mammoth" decline in revenues. He projects there will be $26.2 billion in budget deficits over the next three years, a high figure even for a state government that routinely contends with deficits because of rising spending.

"We are now officially saying New York is in a recession," said Budget Director Laura Anglin. She said New York's recessions have historically lasted 25 months, longer than national recessions.

Paterson said he will seek the Legislature's approval for $600 million in cuts spread throughout state programs, which may include midyear reductions to school districts. But Paterson said he doesn't currently any tax increases, including a temporary income tax hike for millionaires pushed by Assembly Democrats.

He said the 7 percent cut in agency funding, on top of a 3.35 percent cut in the spring, shouldn't hurt services at parks, in state police, for highway maintenance, or support for schools and hospitals.

Paterson has also called the Legislature back to Albany for an emergency economic session on Aug. 19 to enact the $600 million in cuts that need the Legislature's approval. That could include funding cuts to higher education, local hospitals and other programs as well asirca 1995," he said.