ALBANY—The legislative leaders have responded to David Paterson's proposed budget.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's position was unspecific. He acknowledged the need for cuts and praised the governor for his proposal, but parried question after question from reporters, saying that his members and staff are reviewing the proposal.
"We'll review all of his proposals and achieve the necessary savings and raise the necessary revenue," Silver said. "At the same time, we will insist that this government be deliberate and thoughtful and not walk away from our historic obligation to the education, and health and safety of our citizens."
He said he would work to meet the governor's suggested March 1 deadline–a month before the constitutional deadline. To do so, Silver said he would hold joint hearings with the Senate starting in January. At a news conference a moment later, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos pledged to do the same.
Skelos, naturally, ripped Paterson's proposal for the increases of sales and excise taxes and augmentation of fees, saying those measures are "absolutely counterproductive" and "job killing."
"It's my hope that we'll be able to eliminate a number of these fees and taxes, especially those that impact the every day working person that just can't make ends meet right now," Skelos said. He was also concerned about the elimination of the STAR rebate and adjustments that he said will make health care more expensive.