There’s another big deficit in New York’s current budget, and Gov. Paterson Tuesday ordered big cuts in operating expenses to start to fill the hole.
Paterson believes that the current budget, which runs through April, 2010, spends $3 billion more than the state will take in. The recession hit New York State with particular force because a large portion of state revenues come from taxes on Wall Street stock transactions and executive pay and bonuses.
Paterson mandated $500 million in cuts to the operating budgets of all state agencies, with the size of the cuts being made proportional to their budgets. So, the agencies with the largest operating budgets will suffer the largest reductions. The largest belongs to the State University of New York system. SUNY is being asked to give back $90 million from its current budget. The state Correctional Services department is being asked for $70 million.
The cuts are to operating budgets only. Operating budgets include everything from office supplies to software and vendor contracts. The cuts do not include payrolls costs or financial aid programs for local governments. State Legislature approval is needed to make those kinds of cuts.
Paterson challenged state lawmakers to step up and fill the new gap. Ã¢â‚¬Å“These agency spending reductions, however, only represent a first step. I look forward to working cooperatively with the Legislature to enact additional savings and close our current-year deficit,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Paterson told the Albany Times-Union he’d give the Legislature some time to come up with proposals for additional cuts, but if they did not make workable proposals, he’d generate his own list of cuts.