The veil has been lifted on the NY State budget, which was agreed to by Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Smith over the weekend. In short, it's about 8-10% higher than last year's budget, with, the Daily News reports, "$7.2 billion in federal stimulus money that is required to be spent in the coming fiscal year." Still, with word of new tax hikes for singles making over $250,000 or families making more than $300,000 and that education spending is frozen, it's pretty annoying to hear that the Assembly and Senate refused to give up their $170 million in their pork-barrel spending projects.
While Paterson said, "Over the last year, New York faced a historic fiscal crisis that tested our resolve. But by working together cooperatively with our partners in the Legislature, we made the tough choices necessary to address that challenge through shared sacrifice and responsible budgeting," NYPIRG's Blair Horner said this year's process "stunk to high heaven." The NY Times says the budget talks "have been conducted under a veil of secrecy so profound that even well-seasoned Albany cynics were taken aback" and reveals that the pork-barrel slush spending includes "grants to gun clubs, an upstate museum dedicated to bricks and brick-making, the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta and an organization known as the Urban Yoga Foundation."
The Post notes that "lawmakers restored about a third of the spending cuts proposed by Paterson" and "added $405 million in school aid, which Paterson had hoped to cut by $698 million," and "made a record $5.2 billion in program cuts" overall. But the Post also has a graphic of where new taxes are being placed—like the $1.20 "public safety" surcharge on wireless devices and a surcharge on gas bills. The Post's Fred Dicker channels his outrage to list "Paterson's wrecking crew of Democratic operatives and bureaucratic functionaries who helped New York's accidental governor betray his core promise of fiscal prudence and government downsizing."