Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leaders meeting

Legislative leaders, meeting with Gov. David A. Paterson and Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch this morning in the Capitol, recommitted themselves to working together to cut the state's budget deficit. The leaders used the meeting to air concerns over last Thursday's proposal by the governor to cut $5 billion from the budget over the next two years.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson, D—Brooklyn, said his colleagues agree with many of the proposed cuts, but fear how the $500 million cut to state agencies will impact SUNY and CUNY. The $500 million cut amounts to a 10 percent reduction in agency budgets. SUNY itself would face a $90 million cut.

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, R—Rockville Centre, said that Republicans are concerned that the mid-year cuts in school aid are geographically disproportional. Skelos expressed his opposition to any new taxes, jumping on yesterday's interview on WNYC in which the governor floated the idea of a soda tax.

The governor backed away from the soda tax at today's meeting, saying the state wouldn't collect the taxes in time to meet payments in mid-December to schools, municipalities and others.

Paterson also shot down a recommendation from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R—Canandaigua, that the state dip into its rainy day fund.

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