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For Release — Tuesday, January 7, 2003

PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE UPDATES THE 11 REPORTS IN ITS BUDGET WATCH '03 SERIES; WILL PUBLISH PRINTED COLLECTION THIS MONTH

ALBANY—The Public Policy Institute of New York State, the research affiliate of The Business Council, has updated the 11 reports on New York State spending issues in its Budget Watch '03 series of research reports.

The updates were made possible by the publication of new data by the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources. The Census Bureau routinely tracks states' spending in many areas, including those that are the focus of the Budget Watch '03 series.

The updated reports are all posted at www.ppinys.org/bwatch03.htm. A printed version of the entire updated series will be published in mid-January and distributed to lawmakers, chambers of commerce, business leaders, and news media statewide.

"Much of the public discussion of the budget focuses on the state's 'revenue problem,'" the introduction to the Budget Watch '03 series said. "But the root of the shortfall is that Albany is spending more than its taxpayers can afford. In fact, if state-funds spending had simply risen no faster than inflation since 1998, the state would have saved $7.9 billion in the current fiscal year alone."

The Institute inaugurated the Budget Watch '03 series in early November to show the connections between New York's current fiscal challenge and the state's spending habits.

The 11 one-page reports in the series examined such spending-related issues as New York's Medicaid spending, the state and local tax burden, school aid, the size of New York's state and local governments, debt, and state investments in higher education.

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