Leaders Present Paterson Budget Deal Without School Cuts

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In a bid to get an agreement to close the remainder of the $3.2 billion mid-year budget deficit, legislative leaders this afternoon presented Gov. David Paterson a plan that would not include cuts to schools during the current fiscal year.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said this afternoon that the leaders gave Paterson “a presentation of the realities of what’s happening.”

He added that, “Clearly the Senate will not entertain any education cuts, minority or majority, and therefore there aren’t 32 votes in the Senate to do a broader deficit-reduction plan. So having said that (the governor was) presented something within the political realities that exist. And it’s up to the governor to accept or reject or modify.”

The proposal, however, did include using $391 million in federal-stimulus funds for education that was going to be reserved for 2010-11 fiscal year, which starts April 1. In total, the package would cut about $2.8 billion of the $3.2 billion budget gap.

There was no immediate comment from the governor’s office on whether he would accept the deal.

Last week, Paterson began to back away from his initial proposal to cut about $686 million in education aid. Instead, he modified the plan to reduce school aid by $295 million through the end of the school year ($206 million through the end of the fiscal year March 31).

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