Governor Paterson Budget Proposal: Will Cut School Aid, Tax Surgery, and Bring Back the Soda Tax
Governor Paterson says, okay, let's try this budget thing again. Having received what he considered unsatisfactory results from the state senate, Paterson today laid out what the Times calls a "relatively lean budget," which is not that meaningful when you're talking about New York: The sticker is $134 billion, an 0.6 percent increase over the previous year.
Nonetheless it offers some cuts, including five percent off state aid to schools. To make this work, Paterson proposes SUNY and CUNY schools be allowed to adjust their own tuition without Albany approval, which is an innovation.
Cuts directly affecting the city -- in school aid, municipal assistance, social services, and transportation -- total $828 million, as calculated by the Long Island Press
Paterson also wants to bring back the infamous soda tax of $1.28 per gallon, which was howled off the agenda last spring, and add another dollar of tax on cigarettes. These, and taxes and fees on other sundries -- like 9.63 percent surcharge on "services performed in hospitals" (!) and a one-percent hike in nursing home assessments (!!) will raise $465 million, he says.
It's not all bad news: the Governor also wants to allow ultimate fighting back in New York State, and to allow grocery stores to sell wine, which is something Graham Rayman was wondering about back in August.
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