Governor’s budget: 5-percent school aid cut, $1B in new taxes

New York Gov. David Paterson is seeking a 5-percent cut in school aid as well as $1 billion in new t

New York Gov. David Paterson is seeking a 5-percent cut in school aid as well as $1 billion in new taxes and fees in his 2010-11 state budget proposal.

The $134 billion budget also addresses a $7.4 billion deficit.

In addition to a $1.1 billion cut in school aid, Paterson wants a $1 billion cut in health care spending, much of which goes to hospitals and nursing homes.

The Legislature will strongly oppose the measures, in part because health cuts will harm community hospital care and school aid cuts are likely to prompt school boards to raise local property taxes and cut programs.

Paterson would also extend the income tax benefits of filing as a married couple to same-sex couples married in states where gay marriage is legal.

New taxes include a $1 increase in the tax on a pack of cigarettes, restoring New York as the state with the highest tax on cigarettes. Paterson said the revenue will be dedicated to health care. It would raise the state tax to $3.75 per pack.

He also wants a new excise tax on soft drinks and soft drink beverage syrups, a cost that could be passed on to consumers. He said that revenue would fund health programs that combat obesity, diabetes, cancer and other maladies. Other increases involve civil court fees and a planned tax on natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale formation in the Southern Tier and in central New York.

He would also allow the Quick Draw lottery game to be played every hour that a tavern or restaurant is open. The law now restricts the gambling to 13 hours a day.

Paterson’s budget, the second in a historic fiscal crisis, would increase state spending 0.6 of 1 percent, less than the inflation rate of about 2 percent. It further cuts agencies in the executive branch by $1 billion.

The Democrat would also allow the sale of wine in grocery stores, which advocates say will increase sales and tax revenue.

Paterson was scheduled to discuss the proposals during an 11 a.m. speech Tuesday.

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