Paterson Asking Legislative Leaders for Budget Cuts

Earlier this week David Paterson asked all the heads of state agencies to cut their budgets, and threatened a hiring freeze. Today he released a letter to legislative leaders asking them, too, to rein in spending.

In a letter sent to Joe Bruno, Sheldon Silver, Andrew Cuomo, Tom DiNapoli and Chief Justice Judith Kaye, Paterson wrote:

Currently, each State agency, as well as SUNY and CUNY, is developing a spending plan to demonstrate how it will meet the expected savings targets. I am writing to respectfully request that you join with all other agencies and reduce your operating budget by the same 3.35 percent reduction assigned to Executive agencies.

This is a departure from his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, who sought to balance the state’s budget gap by eliminating what he called waste fraud and abuse in health care spending, and, more recently, reducing the promised amount of state aide to city schools.

Here is the rest of Paterson’s letter.

Given the current economic difficulties facing the state, one of my first acts as Governor was to propose $800 million in across-the-board reductions in all agencies’ budgets. With the concurrence of the Legislature, the Enacted Budget reflects savings from a 2 percent reduction in most local programs and a 3.35 percent reduction in the operating budgets for all State agencies.

It is essential that we achieve these savings to ensure that the State’s Financial Plan remains balanced as we move through the fiscal year. In these uncertain times, careful management of State spending by all government partners is essential.

Currently, each State agency, as well as SUNY and CUNY, is developing a spending plan to demonstrate how it will meet the expected savings targets. I am writing to respectfully request that you join with all other agencies and reduce your operating budget by the same 3.35 percent reduction assigned to Executive agencies.

The Enacted Budget Financial Plan assumes that the Legislature, the Department of Law, the Office of the State Comptroller and the Office of Court Administration will join in this effort and reduce their operating budgets by 3.35 percent. To the extent that your agency does not achieve anticipated savings, deeper reductions will be required in other agencies.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation and I look forward to working with you during this difficult year ahead.

Warmest regards.

Sincerely,
David A. Paterson

Paterson Asking Legislative Leaders for Budget Cuts