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NY Democrat guv’s “hard times” speech

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 30, 2008 10:43 AM

Well, this is progress. NY Democrat Gov. David Paterson gave a straight-talk speech yesterday at a press conference to assess hard economic times ahead– and to call on his state to tighten its belt in the face of out-of-control spending and Wall Street woes. The Empire State’s budget deficit will hit $6.4 billion . Paterson has called the state Legislature back into an emergency session next month and is putting an emphasis on cuts, cuts, cuts rather than taxes, taxes, taxes. For now, anyway:

Citing belt-tightening by many families because of the economic downturn, Gov. David A. Paterson yesterday ordered an emergency session of the State Legislature on Aug. 19 to cut spending in the face of growing deficits and provide aid for hard-pressed residents.

Paterson, in a five-minute speech carried live by television stations, said the projected budget deficit for next year is $6.4 billion, up $1.4 billion from May 1 because of smaller tax collections from the financial services industry.

And the combined shortfall for the next three years is $26.2 billion, a 22 percent jump in the estimate from three months ago.

He also said tax receipts from the state’s 16 largest banks had dropped to $5 million in June, compared with $173 million a year earlier.

“The damage on Wall Street is infecting all of our communities and its effects on our New York State finances are devastating,” Paterson said, alluding to New York’s dependence on the world of high finance. “This situation will get worse before it gets better. But the time to act is now.”

He said he was mulling further cuts to state agencies beyond an earlier 3.35 percent reduction, selling or leasing state assets and “addressing the size of the state workforce” – a reference some took to mean layoffs.

However, Paterson wasn’t clear about whether lawmakers would be asked to make midyear cuts in the $122-billion state budget as was done in 1990, including reductions in school aid.

He was expected to provide more details in a speech today in Manhattan and one in Washington tomorrow.

The NYPost offers cautious praise for Paterson and contrasts his approach to RINO Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is adopting an everything-but-cuts plan to deal with NYC’s financial crunch.

Adversity exposes true colors.

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