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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

April 29, 2003

In strong statement, Governor again rejects higher taxes, promises veto of 'fiscally irresponsible' budget plan

Governor George Pataki today emphatically reaffirmed his commitment to rejecting a state budget that increases spending and requires new tax increases, saying he would veto such a plan if necessary.

The Governor issued a 1,144-word statement describing a legislative budget plan that the Governor called "fiscally irresponsible."

"The Legislature's plan would require almost $7 billion in tax increases, use of fiscal gimmicks that damage the state's credit rating and create multi-billion dollar fiscal gaps next year and beyond-while perpetuating a fiscal crisis we have the ability to put behind us through bold action."

The Governor, apparently referring to a possible Legislative attempt to override his veto, also issued a stern warning to Legislators.

"I will fight to ensure than any legislator, Democrat or Republican, Assembly member or Senator, will be held accountable by the people for their choice," the statement said.

The statement recalled the state's experiences in 1995 and 1996, when Governor Pataki and the state Legislature successfully dealt with multi-billion dollar deficits by making "the tough choices that laid the foundation for economic growth and record investments in health care, education and the environment."

This year, facing a fiscal and economic challenge that is similar but "even more daunting," New York must again show the courage, leadership, and restraint "to balance the state budget without gimmicks or taxes, and put the fiscal crisis behind us, grow our economy and continue our investments in education, health care and the environment."

The statement added: "We have done it before. We can do it again."

The Governor said the Legislature's plan would:

Balancing this budget this year and next year would require an increase in taxes of nearly $7 billion - "resulting in a tax increase to the average taxpaying New York family of nearly $2,000," the Governor said.

The Governor also criticized the Legislative budget plan for adding $200 million in pork-barrel spending, rejecting government reforms such as Wicks Law reform and tort reform, cutting SUNY and CUNY operating support, and eliminating funding for new charter schools for children in New York's urban centers.

If this plan becomes law, the Governor said, New Yorkers will face massive tax increases, continued financial crisis, slower economic growth, fewer jobs, and a worsened credit rating.