Skelos Counting On Federal Dollars to Avoid Taxes

ALBANY—Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who has not been shy about attacking David Paterson's proposed budget for the tax and fee increases it contains, is hoping to plug New York's deficit with $18 billion in federal aid that is reportedly coming down the pipeline.

"The additional federal assistance would enable New York to make important investments in our transportation infrastructure, upstate and down. It would help avert mass transit fare hikes and provide vital assistance to health care and education," Skelos said. "New federal aid would help us balance our budget without resorting to tax increases that would only make a bad economic situation even worse."

Skelos said earlier this year that he hoped to avoid some painful cuts by waiting for federal assistance.

His statement also contained praise for Paterson, who he applauded "for being a strong advocate for New York."