There is no question that we are facing very serious fiscal challenges here in New York State, but one thing is very clear – we need to cut spending and not raise taxes.
The Senate has proven that it can and will reduce spending. In August, we made more than $1 billion in spending reductions and we did so with a spirit of cooperation and in a non-political way. In addition to everything we did to cut the Budget, the Senate also passed a constitutional amendment to cap state spending so we aren’t faced with this crisis again.
What is the difference this time? When we cut the Budget in August, we were focused on addressing this year’s spending. These second round of cuts recently proposed by Governor Paterson have a greater impact in education and health care next year - - two of the largest areas of the budget.
It would be devastating for our schools and health care providers to absorb mid-year cuts, and ultimately, the damage would be passed along to the taxpayers in New York State.
That’s why we have asked the Governor to submit his 2009-10 Executive Budget as soon as possible and to provide us with additional information about what he will propose for next year. These important decisions about New York’s future cannot be made in a vacuum; they should be made in the context of an overall budget so everyone affected by the budget can plan for the future.
I will be sure to keep you posted on the progress of reducing the State’s deficit while not raising taxes for the hard working people of New York State.