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Spitzer releases $120 billion state budget

January 31, 2007

Calls for reforms and spending

(New York - WABC) - There are no new taxes, but New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's new budget shows an increase in overall spending.

The governor laid out his $120 billion dollar budget on Wednesday, including:

$1.5 billion dollar property tax relief plan for homeowners
$1.2 billion dollar cut in healthcare spending
And Spitzer is recommending school aid be increased by almost $1.5 billion dollars.
"I believe deeply in the proposals that are articulated in this budget .... but I don't interpret their [lawmakers] applause at the end to mean they will vote for everything," Spitzer told lawmakers in Albany.

Assembly Majority Leader Ronald Canestrari (D-Albany County) said Spitzer's presentation was "impressive," and thought the ideas would be well received in the Legislature.

Republican State Senator Thomas Libous (D-Broome County) added that "It was a good presentation, but the devil is in the details," but that Republicans on Long Island may have concerns over aid allocation to their schools.

Spitzer's general fund budget would increase spending by 4.2 percent -- a fund that is the state's main operating budget.

The proposal also includes $3 billion in reserves, with additions to the state's so-called rainy day fund and the debt reduction fund.

The 2007-2008 budget, Spitzer says, contains no tax increases and fills a projected $1.6 billion deficit.

Now, the budget will head to the Legislature where Spitzer will try to negotiate with lawmakers in order for the budget to be adopted by the start of the fiscal year on April 1st.

One sticking point that lawmakers are concerned about it the closing of hospitals as well as his support for increasing the quantity of charter schools from the current cap of 100 to 250.

Spitzer: "This budget makes targeted investments in our future, provides overdue property tax relief to middle-class homeowners and drives resources to communities in need. ... It also makes the tough decisions necessary to bring spending growth under control."

Spitzer said he will collect state sales taxes on Indian reservations, subject, however, to his negotiations with tribes.

(Copyright 2007 WABC-TV)