State Legislators Work on Budget Cuts

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

State legislators are finally in session this afternoon, hammering out the details of hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts.

WNYC's Elaine Rivera is at the state house in Albany, as the negotiations continue.

She says lawmakers, at work in the middle of their summer vacation, seem more interested in getting this particular task done, rather than fight to the bitter end.

RIVERA: They all seem to be about, "Let's get this done." They're coming in and out of the chambers all the time and they seem to be very hard at work, considering it's the middle of August. It's just a very sleepy time of year, no one's around in Albany. So this is the rare occasion where things are hustling. I think they were hoping to finish this today, so they could all go back.

REPORTER: Rivera says home health care workers have made a strong showing, about 100 of them, but so far they haven't been chanting loudly or making much of a raucous.

Instead, she says they've been quietly and calmly approaching legislators holding signs and passing out fliers asking them not to cut their programs.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, says he expects $400 million to $500 million to be cut from the current 2008-09 budget, and perhaps more.

Gov. Paterson was hoping to cut to cut state spending by about $1 billion.


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