ALBANY—If you want to read the 2010 state budget, you’ll have to do it online.

The Budget Division just announced that it will not be printing the state’s spending plan when it is unveiled next month. This is a break from tradition–the above photo shows budget books dating back to days before the Internet.

“With the state facing historic fiscal challenges, we cannot leave any stone unturned when it comes to reducing the cost of government,” David Paterson said in statement. “In the internet age, printing millions of pages of budget books each year is inefficient and unnecessary. This E-Budget initiative will save taxpayers thousands of dollars and reduce environmental impacts, while still ensuring that executive budget information is transparent and accessible to the public.”
Last year Paterson’s staffers printed 2,700 sets of the 5-volume budget. According to a press release sent by Matt Anderson, the spokesman of the budget division, “stacked end-on-end, those documents would have been taller than the Empire State Building. No longer printing a full set of Executive Budget Books will save an estimated 5.5 million sheets of paper, 660 trees, and $75,000 per year.”

The books will still be available to members of the legislature (as required) and the press (meaning we can still have a morning like this.) The state is also saving money by sharing printers and telling people to print fewer documents. E-Budget