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Budget hearings bring out crowds, all saying "don't cut us"

By PAT BAILEY

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - A room full of employees from businesses that receive state funding made their pitch to Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito and the Chairman of the New York State Ways and Means Committee Thursday as to why their agency should not be cut.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently unveiled a budget proposal that would close a $10 billion budget deficit. In order to do that, he has proposed cuts to just about every state-funded program.

Most everyone in the room Thursday morning had different needs and agendas. However, their messages were the same - cuts will affect their agencies and the people they serve.

From school districts, to law enforcement, to libraries, to Rome's Mayor, each person made the argument that cuts need to be made, but not in their department.

"I ask you review this proposal closely and restore our rightful 2010 reimbursement and to ensure future reimbursements," said Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, regarding the proposal to cut boat patrol funding.

"As of today, the proposals under review by the MRT would dismantle much of New York's homecare system, with catastrophic effects on patients, families, and the rest of the Healthcare System," said Kate Rolf, Executive Director of Homecare Services for Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare.

Destito said Thursday that because of a sluggish economy, and because stimulus money has run dry, the state is still trying to close that massive deficit. Destito said she is aware cuts need to be made, but she wants to make sure they are across the board fairly.

Tax increases are not an option, Destito added.

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