Paterson Seeks $1 Billion in Cuts

david paterson closeup 6 Paterson Seeks $1 Billion in CutsDavid Paterson just told reporters he’s proposing $1 billion worth of additional cuts to state spending as part of his effort to plug the anticipated state budget gap.

Paterson, speaking on a conference call this morning, said he sent those suggestions to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Leader Dean Skelos for consideration. The State Assembly will be back in Albany for a special session next week; the State Senate just concluded a special session.

Paterson said the cuts include $505 million to Medicaid, and $132 million that would be saved by postponing the implementation of legislators’ programs.

When asked by Daily News Albany Bureau Chief Ken Lovett about the millionaire’s tax, Paterson said, “This problem, Ken, is so mammoth, there is no way that we would eliminate any possibility.” He went on to say that raising taxes is a last resort.

Paterson said yesterday afternoon he held a meeting with Silver and Skelos at the governor’s mansion to discuss the issue.

UPDATE: Paterson just released details on the cuts. There’s the $1 billion proposed cuts for this year, plus an additional $1.6 billion he’s proposing for next year that he said will help plug the projected 2009 deficit of $6.4 billion.

One of the ways he’s looking to make cuts is slashing member items by 50 percent. That would save $100 million, according to Paterson’s office.