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Next day budget reaction roundup...

By Philip Anselmo

As we should expect, there's plenty of next day reaction to Gov. David Paterson's budget proposal in the news this morning. We've included here a roundup of some local reaction, as well as a few choice cuts from around the state.

My personal favorite among our local representatives—other than WXXI's capital correspondent Karen DeWitt who is simply fantastic: literate, articulate and trenchant—has to be Buffalo News reporter Tom Precious, who works out of the paper's Albany bureau. Precious put together another great piece today, now that the smoke screen has dissipated somewhat... well, not really dissipated at all.

“We’re going to have to take some extreme measures,” Paterson told lawmakers of the challenge of closing the state’s largest deficit ever.

The reaction was swift — and negative.

Hospitals and nursing homes would close, health care officials say, and those that don’t would cut back on patient care. As a result of Albany’s decreasing school aid, schools would reduce classroom and after-school programs, and property taxes would rise, education officials warned.

Middle-class taxpayers would be hit hard, critics said, not just from the cuts, but from the stunning array of increases in taxes and fees.

New Yorkers would pay more for registering a car, catching a salmon or trout, going to the movies, getting a haircut, buying gasoline, drinking beer and buying nondiet soft drinks.

Republicans say the Democratic governor’s tax and fee plan is actually $2 billion higher than being revealed. In all, there are 151 proposals that would create or increase taxes.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle reinforces the theme of atoning for the sins of our ancestors. Under the subheading: Paying for the Past, Joseph Spector writes: "Paterson warns that the state's fiscal problems are the result of years of overspending." Guilt is implied as a fact of life, it seems, and we're living out the unfortunate tragedy of an Ibsen character, collectively.

The Albany Times Union put together a great piece breaking down the "major elements" of the proposed budget. In an easy-to-navigate bullet-point format, this article is a must read for folks who want to know what's really at stake in the budget. For example, this is the only place we've read about the proposed $7 million reduction in arts grants.

Other articles you may want to check out:

That should get you started.

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