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Western New York Lawmakers React to Governor's Plan

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – New York Governor David Paterson said Wednesday that New York is facing "a mammoth collapse in revenues." He said the state needs to slash $1.2 billion from the current budget to meet shortfalls and to blunt a skyrocketing deficit.

Paterson said he will cut spending in all state agencies by seven percent to come with about $630 million of savings. And he is calling on lawmakers to cut an additional $600 million when they come back for emergency session. Paterson put a hard hiring freeze is in place and he says there could be additional job losses.

But he said, at least for now, raising taxes is not an option.

But Paterson said residents should expect cuts to many long-protected and important programs. He said anything not related to public safety is on the table. He said that could even mean rollbacks in extra education aid.

New York State Assemblyman James Hayes said that troubles him. But Hayes supports the plan not to raise taxes. And he agrees with the governor that there can be no sacred cows.

Hayes said the governor's call for passing the property tax cap during the upcoming emergency session is also a good idea. But Hayes said there are still assurances needed before lawmakers will support it.

Erie County lawmaker Michael Ranzenhofer completely supports the cap and further cuts. He is asking the county legislature to convene in its own special session to pass a resolution that would send that message to Albany.

But that could be a mixed message.

Ranzenhofer also is proposing the county legislature call for mandate relief for schools. And, although he wants cuts, Ranzenhofer also wants the STAR Tax credit doubled.

Paterson has warned that all state governments will feel the pain of the fiscal crisis.

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