By Heather Grossmann
Gov. David Paterson announced plans on Thursday to slice $5 billion in funding from the state budget over the next two years.
Education and health care would suffer most, with more than $1 billion in combined cuts proposed.
The governor made the statement in the wake of Wednesday’s news from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that if the state budget crisis continues, New York could be facing a $4.1 billion deficit.
Paterson said his plan would eliminate the deficit without raising state taxes.
“During a time of uncommon difficulty, we need to work together for the common good,” the governor said in a statement. “This will mean hard and painful choices, but that is exactly the type of leadership New Yorkers deserve from their public officials.”
Long-term reforms to the Tier V pension plan, which benefits newly hired state employees, are included in the governor’s plan.
Additional cuts include $287 million to Medicaid and $10 million from the Environmental Protection Fund. Paterson is also requesting $326 million from the Battery Park City Authority, a move he tried and failed to make last February.
“Waiting for the economy to recover is not the answer,” DiNapoli said in a statement after the governor’s announcement. “The Legislature needs to work with the Governor to get the state’s perilous finances back on track and protect the interests of taxpayers.”
Paterson hopes to convene the State Senate and Assembly on Oct. 27 to vote on the proposed cuts.