GOP lawmakers lambaste Paterson's budget

Long Island's Assembly Republicans slammed Gov. David Paterson?s proposed budget during a meeting in Mineola Tuesday morning.
The GOP lawmakers say the governor wants to close the state?s budget deficit through raising taxes and fees that will place an undue burden on middle class families at a time when they can least afford it.
According to Assemblyman Fred Thiele, under Paterson?s proposed budget there would be 137 various tax and spending increases totaling $4 billion. For the average Long Island family of four, that would mean paying an extra $3,800 a year, he says.
?We have a deficit because we spend too much, not because we tax too little,? Thiele says.
The lawmakers say the most damaging of the proposed cost-cutting measures include the elimination of rebate checks and STAR benefits, which would result in a property tax hike.
Thiele and his colleagues say they've submitted a list of 11 proposals to the governor including merging or eliminating state agencies, cracking down on Medicaid fraud and abuse and suspending state employee travel and vehicle purchases. They?re also recommending reducing the size of government through attrition and early retirement incentives.
A spokesman in the governor's office stressed tough choices have to be made to deal with this financial crisis.
To see extended footage of Thiele's press conference, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.