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Economic Worries Bring Lawmakers Back to Albany

Submitted article

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) said in light of the uncertain financial markets and economic times, it is wise to return to Albany to see where else we can cut spending.

The Governor announced that he will call the Legislature back for a special session on Nov. 18, to handle the state’s growing deficit.  The Division of Budget projects the state must close a potential current-year shortfall of at least $1.2 billion related to recent turmoil on Wall Street.  Division of Budget also forecasts state tax collections in the current year will be $1.3 billion lower than previously anticipated. Paterson has asked lawmakers to cut $2 billion from this year’s budget to help compensate for these losses.

“Though it’s unfortunate that we have to make these kinds of mid-year cuts again, the cuts the Governor is calling for will help get the state back on fiscal track.  We can’t turn a blind eye to the heavy hits Wall Street has taken and the economy as a whole.  Obviously, all of this will affect the state’s budget and we have to anticipate those impacts,” said Barclay.

In a report issued today, the Division of Budget says tightening credit markets and the greater economic picture have also adversely impacted labor market conditions, creating a 6 percent unemployment rate for August.  The DOB also projects a cumulative deficit of $24.4 billion over the next three years.

“Another special session will at least allow the state to bring spending in line with revenues, to avoid further debt,” said Barclay.  “For the past several years, I have voted against many of the budget bills in the regular session because I believed that we were overspending when our debt load was $54 billion, and our budget deficit was $5 billion.  I’m glad to come back to Albany to make the cuts but I hope this administration puts the state on better track so we don’t have to make mid-session cuts again next year,” said Barclay.