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By Brian Mann

February 1, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget address is winning accolades from North Country lawmakers, with Republican state Senator Betty Little praising the plan and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward sounding cautiously enthusiastic.

But liberals groups are angry about this Democratic governor's approach to closing the $10 billion dollar deficit.

The Fiscal Policy Institute's Frank Mauro zings the Governor for cutting K-12 funding, and for failing to boost taxes on the state's wealthiest citizens...

Meanwhile, the head of the Coalition for Economic Justice accuses Cuomo of using an axe rather than a scalpel as he cuts the deficit.

"The majority of New Yorkers support extending the income tax surcharge on the richest New Yorkers, which would raise $4.6 billion in revenues this year alone," said executive director Allison Duwe.

"The state and local tax burden of the poorest 20% of New Yorkers is double that of the richest 1% of New Yorkers. Our inequitable tax system perpetuates the most severe income disparity in the nation. Meanwhile, deep cuts in education and healthcare spending hits working and middle class families the hardest."

Matt Ryan, head of NY Jobs With Justice, questions the governor's economic plan, which envisions the creation of new regional economic development initiatives.

"While other areas of the budget are being cut," Ryan said in a statement, "Cuomo plans to increase spending and reduce accountability for the new and unproven Excelsior jobs program. At the same time, he proposes to create another layer of administration in the form of Regional Economic Development Councils, which will give $130 million in grants to businesses this year."

Ryan argues that laying off as many as 10,000 state workers could cripple the state's economic recovery.

To read the full article, visit North Country Public Radio online.