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Hard sell for a budget offering all pain, no gain

   The day of reckoning — after months of warnings — arrived Tuesday and the scene was not pretty.

   Gov. David A. Paterson's presentation of a bad-news budget had something for everyone to hate. And they did.

   Those relying on state funding said the proposed spending cuts would result in chaos.  Those who pay taxes accused Paterson of nickel-and-diming average New Yorkers to the tune of more than $4.1 billion, with every possible tax and fee increase he could unearth.

   Then there are tax increases that, while not directly impacting citizens, would eventually affect them --like $700 million in tax hikes on health insurers and $651 million on utility companies.

Cities, counties, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, state colleges, mental health programs, transit systems, economic development efforts, agriculture and tourism marketing would feel the pain.

   So begins the a debate on a budget that Paterson wants wrapped up by March 1 — record time for Albany.  "This should be the moment we take control of our budget," the governor told lawmakers.

   But for the coming months,  it will be the Legislature and special interests taking control.

   — Tom Precious


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