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May 6, 2003

Governor promises 'extensive' budget vetoes
Says state tax hikes would not be temporary, and lack of Medicaid reform will drive county taxes up

Governor George Pataki today promised "extensive vetoes" of the state Legislature's budget plan, saying it includes state tax increases that cannot be temporary and that its failure to reform Medicaid would drive county property taxes higher.

In a media "availability" this morning, the Governor also told the Capitol press corps that the legislative plan would create a three-year "out-year" budget gap of $13 billion.

"If they pass this budget as it is currently constructed, we are not going to be able to meet all the obligations of the state during the course of this fiscal year," the Governor said.

The Governor's analysis of the budget "makes it clear that it contains the largest tax increase in state history at $2.5 billion and the largest 'out-year gaps' in the history of New York," capitolwire.com, an on-line news service, said in a report to subscribers.

The Governor predicted deficits of $1.5 billion in the current year, with deficits of $5.3 billion and $7.7 billion in the next two years, capitolwire.com said.

Asked what he would tell localities about Medicaid costs, the Governor said, "The answer is that the legislature has failed to reform Medicaid, failed to adopt any of the reforms that we suggested. It will result in this year, just in Medicaid alone, $175 million in higher costs to counties.

"That will grow obviously as the Medicaid program continues to grow if there are no reforms made to the system. We have made this plain to the counties and we will continue to do that."

The Governor also said that:

  • A line-by-line review of the budget is continuing to determine what to veto. "There will be extensive vetoes to this completely out-of-balance budget," he said.

  • His staff is still analyzing the proposed fiscal plan for New York City. "I am concerned about the fact that the efforts we advanced like tort reform and Medicaid reform, that would have helped the city, were rejected," he said.

  • He remains convinced that the Legislature made "a fundamental mistake" in embracing "massive" increases in taxes, spending, and out-year budget gaps.

  • He plans to travel the state to share his message with the voters, with stops in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse set for tomorrow (Wednesday, May 7).