Paterson’s Speech: The Economic Crisis in New York Is ‘Devastating’

Paterson
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Governor Paterson just delivered his much-hyped speech on the steps he will take to stave off an economic crisis in New York. It was short, and he devoted much of his airtime to explaining the causes of the problem, and how it was affecting people. "Everywhere I go people are losing their jobs and their homes," he said. "The rising costs of health care means that they cannot afford to get sick; the rising cost of education means that families can no longer prepare their children for the workforce." He said that projections for the budget deficit have ballooned since the last projection in May, from $5 billion to $6.4 billion for next year alone — with the three-year deficit growing from $21 billion to $26.2 billion.

As indicated earlier, Paterson will call the State Legislature back into session in late August. He cited the size of the state workforce, spending, and property taxes as targets for cuts. "Next year's budget process starts now!" he vowed. If families are shortening their vacations owing to gas prices and job cuts, he reasoned, their representatives can as well, in order to fix the problem. "For too long we have done less with more, and paid more with less," he added. "It is time for New York and other governments to cut up our credit cards."

Despite his hearty rhetoric, Paterson didn't get into specifics about his plans to solve the crisis which he calls "devastating." In an earlier interview with ABC 7, he ruled out tax increases for now, and his mentions of health care and education during the speech could mean he has the powerful, obstinate unions in those sectors in his sights. For a full analysis of what Paterson faces in the coming weeks, check out Chris Smith's preview from earlier today. The state's financial plan will be officially released tomorrow.

Earlier: Chris Smith on Today's Budget Speech: a Fresh Start for Both State and Governor?