State Senate GOP won't act on budget cuts without plan

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Gov. David Paterson unveiled plans Wednesday to cut $2 billion from the state's budget for the current fiscal year, only to have state Senate Republicans say "not so fast."

The governor said in addition to the current deficit, the state is looking at $47 billion in deficits over the next four years, a situation that makes the cuts across the board necessary.Two of the areas Paterson highlighted for cuts were education and health care, but Paterson says no area of government will be spared.

The governor called for cutting a 9 percent increase in aid for public schools to 5 percent. He also wants the proposed increase for Medicaid spending slashed by 50 percent, which would save $572 million this year alone. Paterson stressed that these were not decreases in spending since the reduction is being made to proposed increases.Gov. Paterson also proposed increasing tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools. He called for a 14 percent tuition hike for SUNY students and an increase of about 15 percent for CUNY tuition. The increases for both schools would be $600.

State Budget Director Laura Anglin says New York?s poorer school districts will see smaller funding cuts than wealthier ones will.

The governor said he is trying to avoid any tax increases for state residents.The Legislature was scheduled to hold a special session to address the budget crisis Nov. 18, but the state Senate Republican majority says it won't act on the plan unless Paterson releases an 18-month spending plan.

AP wire reports contributed to this article.

To see Paterson's full press conference on the budget cuts, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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