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Governor Pataki Promises to Veto Parts of New State Budget

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Republican Governor George Pataki and State Assembly Democrats are continuing their war of words in the wake of Wednesday night's passage of a new state budget.

Governor Pataki vows he will veto parts of the state budget sent to him by the state Legislature. At a news conference in Albany Thursday, Pataki said he has "profound concerns" with what he sees as excessive spending in the $101 billion plan.

"We have real concerns that it creates a massive increase in the outyear gaps that in the budget I proposed were manageable," Pataki said. "We're not sure that this year's budget is, in fact, balanced."

But state Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz says Pataki made similar arguments last year.

"We ended up this past fiscal year with a surplus," Tokasz said. "We were very prudent in how we spent money. We tried to help counties with their Medicaid problems by taking over Family Health Plus. We tried to do the best we can to minimize property tax increases for school districts, which is the same thing we did last year."

Final passage of the budget means that state legislators will receive paychecks for the first time since April 1st. By law, their pay is withheld until a spending plan is approved.