Paterson, Leadership Close to Striking Budget Deal

Governor Paterson says he and lawmakers have almost reached an agreement on a plan to balance the state’s budget. Reporter Karen DeWitt has more from Albany.

REPORTER: In a meeting with legislative leaders held by conference call, the governor seemed to be backing away from his strong stance to cut school aid in the middle of the academic year and to slash health care, saying he's becoming less ideological on how to close the more than $3 billion deficit. But afterwards the governor said legislators are going to eventually have to face the hard reality: education and health care are on the chopping block because that's where the money is.

PATERSON: I don't see how health care and education cuts could not be part of the plan, since they're 55 percent of the budget.

REPORTER: The governor and leaders agreed to send their top staff to a budget meeting that they hope can reach conclusion before the weekend. In Albany, I'm Karen DeWitt.