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Budget posturing continues, candidates for governor weigh in

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-908220.mp3

Buffalo, NY – As state lawmakers continue to work on spending plan that is already months overdue, Governor David Paterson is continuing his warning that he'll reject that plan if it includes any borrowing to close the deficit.

More than half the budget work has been completed through the 11 emergency spending bills issued by the Governor and approved by the Legislature. Some lawmakers want to borrow as much as $1 billion to close the budget gap. Without that step, there's fear the only way to manage the deficit to accept Paterson's proposal to cut $1.4 billion from public schools.

The major party candidates for New York governor are watching the ongoing dispute over a new state budget. Each weighed in on the issue Thursday.

They're on the sidelines right now. But next year at this time, one of them will be central to the budget discussions. Democrat Andrew Cuomo says Governor Paterson's strategy of inserting his budget proposals in weekly emergency spending bills is not an ideal tactic but has been effective in getting a budget done. During an appearance in Buffalo, Cuomo said state legislators are going to have to make some difficult choices.

"I believe raising taxes would be a mistake. I believe that borrowing would be a mistake," Cuomo said. "When the income is reduced, expenses have to be reduced."

Cuomo's Republican opponent Rick Lazio also addressed the late state budget during a WBFO News interview yesterday. He sounded many of the same issues that Cuomo mentioned, starting with spending cuts.

"We need to make some very tough decisions on the budget," Lazio said, "particularly redesigning Medicaid which is an out-of-control program."

Even though the two candidates are sounding very much the same -- especially on the issue of not raising taxes -- Lazio argues Cuomo's true colors will come through should he be elected and that his policies will drive more jobs and businesses out of New York.

Click the audio player above to hear Mark Scott's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.