Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tightening NYS's belt

Gov. David A. Paterson proposed on Tuesday what would be the largest cut to school aid in more than two decades and nearly $1 billion in new or increased taxes and fees as he unveiled his budget, a plan that is likely to be the first chapter in a prolonged battle with the Legislature.

Searching for new sources of tax revenue amid a fiscal crisis, the governor proposed legalizing mixed martial arts, allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores, taxing bottled soft drinks, taxing cigarette sales on Indian reservations and deploying speed-enforcement cameras in highway work zones.

He even proposed charging fees to many families that enroll in an early intervention program for children with autism, attention deficit disorder and other special needs, and delaying one of his signature achievements — a plan to increase monthly welfare allowances.

And everyone is howling. Library associations are calling it disastrous. No one wants to sacrifice anything.

But Mr. Paterson avoided harsher medicine. He has made no significant cuts to the state’s work force and even assured union leaders that he would not seek layoffs this year, a risky move as the state faces huge deficits in the coming years.

And some aren't being asked to sacrifice at all. Absurd.

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