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by Jay Gallagher

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Paterson on U-Tube: support your local legislator

Just hours before the new fiscal year is to begin, Gov. David Paterson today issued a plea on U-Tube for voters to contact their local legislators and tell them they support cuts in spending.

Lawmakers, who are on vacation until next Wednesday, are deadlocked over how much to cut spending for education, health care and other state programs, whether to raise taxes on cigarettes and whether to borrow more money to meet operating expenses.

Paterson today signed a temporary-spending bill to keep the state operating until April 11 while the haggling continues and another that will delay about $2 billion in aid to local schools due tomorrow until the state finds the money to pay for it.

" be fair, my legislative colleagues, the senators, the Assembly members and their leaders are working very hard in Albany to try to ameliorate this problem and I don't think that the barrier is their inability to grasp the gravity of our current financial woes,’’ Paterson said. “ Rather, I think my colleagues are nervous about the cost of making these tough decisions.”

He continued, "I served with them as a legislator for over 20 years, so I think I'm sensitive to the problems that they face. And so I urge all of you New Yorkers to contact your local legislators and not to criticize them, but rather to remind them that just as you have had to make the tough choices for yourselves and your families, now they have to make those difficult decisions for the state.

"Tell them that you will support that they make these difficult decisions. Encourage them to reduce spending so that we have a more affordable economy and let them know that you will be for them if they put us on the road to fiscal recovery,’’ he said.

So far, no word of phones ringing off the hook in lawmakers’ offices. Most powerful interest group at the Capitol, from the teacher unions to hospitals to public-employee unions and other groups, whom lawmakers depend on for campaign cash, are pushing the other way - against any cuts. That’s why some are predicting a long delay before any spending plan is approved.

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