Counties: Cut Spending, Don't Tax Property Owners

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County leaders from across the state are calling on Governor Paterson and the legislature to cut spending to balance the state’s latest budget gap, and not to pass on any more costs to county taxpayers. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.

REPORTER: The counties say they are suffering from declining sales tax and property tax revenues, while having to increase spending on services like unemployment, food stamps and Medicaid while the recession wears on.

The Association of Counties Executive Director Steven Aquario says when governor and legislature takes steps this month to close the $2.1 billion budget gap, they have to consider cutting spending as the top priority.

AQUARIO: Should they propose cutting spending, we stand with them. If they propose cost shifting to county property taxpayers, we will not and we will fight these proposals.

REPORTER: Governor Paterson has said he hopes to have a deficit closing plan worked out with legislators shortly after Labor Day.