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A Thousand Plan Protest of Paterson Budget Cuts

November 17, 2008

Albany, NY — More than 1,000 protesters plan to march on the state capitol tomorrow for the start of the special legislative session. The protests, and a related petition drive, aim to stop Gov. David A. Paterson's budget-cutting solution to the state's fiscal crisis. Citizen Action of New York executive director Karen Scharff says Paterson's approach lacks balance. You cannot simply cut your way out of a fiscal crisis, she contends.

"He's cutting health care, cutting education and cutting the very programs that help people keep their job or get back to work, while refusing to ask the wealthy--who benefitted from the boom--to make any contribution at all."

Paterson supporters credit the governor with having the courage to go after vested interests in proposing the $2 billion in cuts. Scharff encourages people to see where those cuts actually will fall by monitoring the website www.fightthecuts.org.

"We're going to keep posting specific cuts to each school district, and we are going to keep posting the new information as we get it, but also I think even more importantly—it gives you a way to take action. At www.fightthecuts.org you can take action immediately with our petition, and you also can get information about how to come to Albany on Tuesday."

In her testimony to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Nov. 12, Sharff urged lawmakers to use funds from the state's Tax Stabilization Fund to balance the budget, instead of cutting state services to vulnerable citizens.

Paterson has proposed more than $5 billion in cuts to get the state through the next 16 months. Scharff say New York voters overwhelmingly prefer President-elect Barack Obama's approach to grow the economy with green jobs and increase taxes on those most able to pay.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY