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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From New York State Governor David Patterson. December 16, 2008: In a communication just received by WPCNR from Governor Patterson, who released his 2008 budget cuts on time as promised today, the Governor reaches out to the people of New York to explain his cuts. Governor Patterson In White Plains, November, 2008 My Fellow New Yorkers,
Today, I released my budget for the coming fiscal year, proposing a package of targeted tax and fee increases, significant spending cuts, and streamlining or eliminating programs that are not working, in order to close our state's estimated $15.4 billion deficit, the largest in New York State's history.
These difficult times require making difficult choices, and it's painful to have to make some of these decisions. I have repeatedly said that nothing is off the table when it comes to addressing this deficit, and I have recently found myself having to veto bills as Governor that I sponsored when I was a State Senator. However, we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis we have endured since the Great Depression. People are suffering, and action must be taken. (More)
As a former State Senator from Harlem, I know from experience the effect of budget cuts and fee increases on working families, which is why I carefully considered the reductions in spending to education and Medicaid. However, taken together, education and health care represent over half of our budget, and reductions are necessary if we're going to get our state back on track. In the coming days, we can expect to read stories and watch commercials about these proposed cuts, and while cuts to education and health care cannot be avoided, they can be done smartly to minimize the impact on the classrooms and the hospitals and clinics.
However, I am also acutely aware that there are families struggling to provide basic needs for their loved ones, which is why I have proposed increasing funding to a number of social initiatives aimed at helping the poorest New Yorkers through these challenging economic times, including an increase to welfare grants for the first time in 18 years, expanding the state-financed Family Health Plus health insurance program to cover 19- and 20-year-olds who no longer live with their parents, and increasing services to CUNY & SUNY colleges and universities.
I encourage you to learn more about my budget priorities by reading the news stories below:
Closing the State Deficit Requires Prudence (Albany Times Union)
NY Gov. Paterson's state budget in brief (Newsday)
As I've said time and again, these extraordinary circumstances are forcing us all to take a hard look at our fiscal priorities and to make some difficult choices in an effort to keep our state solvent. I submitted my budget five weeks early because I want to give New Yorkers, legislators, state agencies, and various interest groups sufficient opportunity to discuss the steps we need to take next to put New York back on the right path. I will deliver my State of the State address on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 to continue that conversation with all New Yorkers.
These are difficult times, but I am confident that New Yorkers, together, will rise to meet this great challenge.
Governor David A. Paterson
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