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Majority backs governor’s $5B deficit-reduction plan

The majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support Gov. David Paterson’s proposed two-year, $5 billion deficit-reduction plan. His proposal would have a current-year impact of $3 billion.

The plan calls for no tax increases or layoffs. The largest current-year savings would come from $1.8 billion in across-the-board spending reductions, including the $500 million in administrative agency spending cuts that Paterson announced Oct. 6, and $1.3 billion in cuts to local assistance. The latter would include a $480 million cut in aid to school districts, a $287 million cut to Medicaid, $184 million cut from other health programs, a $67 million reduction in aid to municipalities and a $62 million cut to higher education programs.

Approval ratings for the governor’s handling of the budget crisis are weighted toward the negative. Thirty-five percent rate Paterson’s performance as poor, one-third rate it fair and one-quarter rate it good. Some 7 percent gave Paterson an excellent rating.

The state Legislature fared much worse. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said legislators are doing a poor job, and 9 percent said fair. Just 2 percent gave the Legislature a good rating.

Roughly 660 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Oct. 19 and 20.

Do you support or oppose Gov. David Paterson’s $5 billion deficit-reduction plan?

I strongly support it:
37%
I support it:
40%
I oppose it:
13%
I strongly oppose it:
10%
Overall, how would you rate the governor’s performance in dealing with New York’s budget crisis?

 

Excellent:
7%
Good:
25%
Fair:
33%
Poor:
35%
Overall, how would you rate the state Legislature’s performance in dealing with the budget crisis?

 

Excellent:
0%
Good:
2%
Fair:
9%
Poor:
89%
COMMENTS:
I admire Paterson for having the backbone that the Legislature lacks to propose these cuts! I am disappointed that a reduction in the state labor force is not part of the proposed cuts.
-Gary O’Dea, managing member,
Sourcing Solutions Associates LLC

With almost $1 billion in cuts to health care and education, and no layoffs, this is just more of the same dismantling of the New York infrastructure. No wonder people are moving out of New York to avoid having their tax dollars wasted! There should be massive state employee layoffs, including and especially the bloated Legislature staff. In addition, all elected legislators should volunteer for a 25 percent pay reduction. Shielding the state workers from the pain being experienced by the private sector just continues the fairy tale going on in Albany.
-Joe Fabetes, Rochester

Gov. Paterson has been faced with an extremely difficult situation. I personally applaud his willingness to tackle this challenge regardless of the ultimate political consequences for his re-election. I would vote to keep him in office.
-Ray Hutch, CEO,
Synergy Global Solutions

It’s about time! New York State needs to make big cuts. This is a start in the right direction. However, some of these cuts seem to just push the burden off on local and county governments. We need serious cuts at the state level. We need to cut programs. We need to cut people. We need to cut taxes. We need to cut the deficits. The biggest mistake New York ever made was letting state workers unionize. Now the unions run the state and the Democrat party. So none of the needed cuts will happen, until the state has no more tax base.
-Dennis Ditch, Delta Square

It’s time the state makes some tough decisions on cutbacks, just as every American home is having to do.
-Peter Pape, CEO, The Riverside Group

Budget cuts alone will not fix this state’s problems. Serious structural changes are needed, such as reducing the number of counties and districts.
-James Tabbi, RAF Tabtronics LLC

It’s time to start trimming some fat and waste from our state’s bloated budget. How much of a crisis is necessary before the slackers in our state Legislature get off their butts and get serious about attacking this deficit? Why is it they are the only ones who can’t see or won’t see the problem? Every day that goes by without any action makes the problem worse and the solution that much more painful. I’ll bet very few of our infamously apathetic legislators plan on spending their retirement years in New York State and the mess they created.
-D. Scott Maxson, MoneyMax Group LLC

This proposal barely scratches the surface and does nothing to fix the long-term financials ailing this state. We need people who will tackle the problem, not Band-Aid the wound.
-R. Stenglein

10/23/09 (c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303.

 

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