By Kenneth Lovett
Daily News Albany Bureau Chief
Updated Thursday, October 15th 2009, 3:17 PM
[photo of Governor Paterson]
Gov. Paterson is proposing nearly $1 billion budget cuts to
health care and education combined to deal with the state's $3 billion deficit.
ALBANY - City schools and the cash-strapped MTA are the
biggest losers under Gov. Paterson's $5 billion fix to the state's ballooning
Instead of complaining, Mayor Bloomberg praised Paterson for
"trying to treat everyone fairly with evenly distributed cuts."
"One of the most serious threats to New York City's
future is the possibility that the state will not get its fiscal house in order
quickly," Bloomberg said.
Paterson Thursday proposed about $2 billion in statewide
cuts and $1 billion in one-time fiscal gimmicks, including a tax amnesty
program, to raise revenue.
The total plan would save the state $5 billion over the next
two years, Paterson said.
He did not ask for tax or fee hikes or state employee
He proposed rare midyear cuts of $223.2 million for city
schools and $113 million for the MTA in an effort to plug a projected $3
billion deficit in this year's budget.
The city also would lose $26.2 million in municipal aid and
about $732,000 in health care funds, not counting private city hospitals.
Not acting quickly will cause cash flow problems as soon as
December, Paterson warned.
"New York is ground zero for the fiscal crisis,"
Paterson said. "This is a painful plan, but we will share the
Paterson, looking to resurrect his political standing, faces
an uphill battle with the Legislature, which has avoided making politically
"We're not going to succumb to his hysteria, nor are we
necessarily going to accept his forecasting," said Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn).
Kruger and Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, who is
in China this week, indicated little support for cutting school and health
Insiders said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is unlikely to
bring his members back to vote on a plan unless there are guarantees the
fractured Senate is on board.
MTA board member Andrew Albert warned that proposed mass
transit cuts could force fare hikes and service cuts.
City teachers union President Michael Mulgrew said the city
must find ways to save without cutting programs.
"While we all recognize the state's fiscal condition,
the children in New York City's classrooms should not have to bear the brunt of
these cuts," Mulgrew said.
The powerful city health care union said the proposed cuts
"will be aggressively opposed with every resource at our disposal."
Others, particularly in the business community, cheered the
"While the 'spending lobby' will surely attack this
plan with hysteria, Gov. Paterson is right to demand that New York end its
culture of unsustainable taxing and spending," said Kenneth Adams,
president of the state Business Council.
Paterson wants the Legislature to address the problem on