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Amy Traub

Leadership = Slashing the Safety Net?

The Manhattan Institute's E.J. McMahon can't wait for the state budget cuts that will downgrade our kids' education and decimate health care for the poor. The big problems with New York's most recent state budget, he suggests, is that we just didn't slash the services poor and middle-class families rely on enough. Apparently, if David Paterson makes big cutbacks quickly he'll be "acting like a governor" - a sure path to reelection.

As I've argued before New York actually passed a reasonable budget for hard times. Instead of job-killing cuts in public services, he raised taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers - not a bad decision given the recent census data once again indicating that New York is the most unequal state in the country.

It's also worth remembering that one reason New York was able to avoid devastating budget cuts was the availability of federal stimulus funding, which worked, at least to some extent, as intended, to preserve our state safety net. Since most of us aren't quite as eager as the Manhattan Institute to see school funding and health coverage slashed, it's valuable to keep considering what we could gain from another round of fiscal stimulus, preserving state and city services as the poor economy persists.

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Posted at 8:21 AM, Oct 01, 2009 in Fiscal Responsibility | New York
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