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Zack Hutchins
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January 7, 2003

Governor: New York should preserve existing tax cuts, enact new incentives, and restrain spending in 'long-term' approach to fiscal challenges

Facing a potential budget deficit of $2 billion this year and one several times larger next year, New York State faces a choice between jobs and taxes-and must choose jobs, Governor George Pataki said today in his State of the State message.

In his annual address to the state Legislature, the Governor said he will propose a state budget that would reduce state spending in every area but public security, preserve already enacted cuts, and enact new tax incentives to encourage high-tech job creation.

"We can again turn crisis into comeback if we heed the lessons we have learned over the last eight years," the Governor said. "Let's make sure that what we say at home is what we do in Albany. Let's not say we are going to fight to create jobs and then come to Albany and vote to raise job-killing taxes."

The Governor was interrupted three times by applause as he outlined his commitment to tax reduction.

Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh hailed the speech. "My heartfelt congratulations on a superb, uplifting State of the State message," Walsh said in a letter to the Governor. "Your vision remains focused on the tremendous future New York has before it - not on the bumps in the road." Walsh added: "We are pleased and gratified that you will go forward with the state's ongoing tax-cut program, and expand it. . . . You know what works, and you know what doesn't work. You will see us through."

The Governor said New York's experience handling similar challenges in the past offers a "road map to renewal."

"In 1995, when New York's economy and finances were still in a state of crisis, we made the right choice. We cut taxes, reduced spending, and led New York's economy to renewal. The result was the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. And that growth allowed us to make record investments in education, health care and the environment."

The Governor emphasized the importance of looking beyond the short-term fiscal challenge to the longer-term economic implications of how the state responds.

"As other states adopt massive tax increases in response to their fiscal crises, we must look beyond the short term to the future we want for ourselves and our children," the Governor said. "It's not just about getting through this budget session or even the next. It's about believing in our pro-growth agenda and in the people of New York who make it work."

The Governor also called for "strengthening and renewing" the Health Care Reform Act of 2000 (HCRA), adopting California's standards for auto emissions, and a commitment to having at least 25 percent of all energy electricity bought in New York State come from renewable energy resources.