NEW YORK—Democratic New York Senate Majority leaders voted 32-29 on a version of the budget on Monday and mde several changes to Gov. David Paterson's proposal but kept many of the proposed cuts to health care and schools.
Very little of the new taxes and fees in Paterson's budget were considered by the Senate. They rejected charging an excise tax on soda and sugary beverages and an extra $1 dollar tax on cigarettes. They also rejected the governor’s proposal to allow the sale of wine in grocery and drug stores.
However, the Senate did propose to collect $200 million in taxes on revenue generated from tobacco sales by Native American tribes.
The controversial plan to close 57 parks and reduce service for 22 parks in the state was rejected. The proposal to impose a severance tax on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations was also rejected.
According to a statement released by the Senate the proposed budget “creates job, holds the line on government spending, rejects proposed tax increases, provides much-needed relief to overburdened property owners, all the while prioritizing the services and programs that New Yorkers support and depend on.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement after the state budget was released, saying it "fails to take common-sense measures to generate revenue that could offset a devastating school aid cut and prevent 8,500 teacher layoffs in New York City."
The mayor added that the "city cannot afford to be treated unfairly" in reference to the cuts.
The new taxes and fees were proposed by Gov. Paterson in order to close an approximately $9 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year.
If the resolution is approved, the Senate will have to make a compromise with the Assembly, who is expected to soon have their own version of the state's budget proposal.
The 2010-2011 fiscal year starts on April 1 but the passage of the state budget looks unlikely by that time, according to several top officials such as Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch.