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Pataki Will Deliver His Most Difficult Budget Ever

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Governor George Pataki's releases his proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year later today. It may be the toughest spending plan he's ever had to put together.

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the governor's office was forecasting there could be as much as a $5 billion deficit in the 2002-2003 fiscal year. Yet, Pataki has said laying off state workers shouldn't be necessary. He's pledging $250 million for high-tech research centers in New York, including one in Buffalo. And in his state of the state address two weeks ago, Pataki said he would move forward with this year's tax cuts.

"Unlike 1989, unlike 1990, 1991, '92, '93 and 1994, we will not delay tax cuts," Pataki declared.

All this has legislators wondering how Pataki will close the budget gap without drastic cuts.

He's calling on the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-run Senate to work in a bipartisan manner to adopt a budget. He's hoping last week's successful negotiations on a new health care plan will set the tone for timely approval of a budget.

The state hasn't met the April 1st budget deadline since 1984.