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Who will take the heat for state budget cuts?

   Budget disruptions experienced in other states, most notably California, have come to roost in New York State following the release Wednesday of Gov. David A. Paterson's plan to cut $2 billion in spending in the current  budget year.

   To hear those who rely on state funding tell it, the effects will be many: cuts in classroom and after-school programs, less access to care in hospitals and nursing homes, fewer housing options for low-income people, higher costs for college students, and less money for not-for-profit social service organizations.

   Critics find it say curious that a Democrat who railed against a proposed package of cuts by then-Gov. George E. Pataki in 2003  now, as governor, offers proposals that have been branded draconian and devastating. Paterson --  considered a fiscal liberal as a lawmaker -- now talks of ending Albany's record of freewheeling spending.

   Will lawmakers be ready to meet him at the table during next Tuesday's emergency session called to deal with the huge deficit?

   Senate Republicans on  Wednesday hinted that more information is needed and that they want to see Paterson's  plans for 2009 before cutting the current spending plan.

    Delay may be just what is planned by GOP senators, who lose seven decades of  dominance in the Senate as the majority party come Jan. 1.

   Why not let Senate Democrats make  the unpopular cuts? they reason.

-- Tom Precious


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