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Lt Governor on state's economy: "There is no easy way out"

By PAT BAILEY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The state's lieutenant governor says New York is at a crossroads, and if taxpayers support Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2011budget proposal, the state will head down the road to recovery.

Robert Duffy made the announcement Wednesday during a budget message at Utica College.

Duffy says he is touring the state and explaining this year's budget proposal to taxpayers. The Governor shined a bright light on "dark backroom deals" that normally go into putting together a state budget, Duffy said, adding that this year's proposal is everything previous years are not.

The 2011 budget proposal outlined by Governor Andrew Cuomo a few weeks ago is full of cuts, as well as calls for no new spending. The goal of the budget is to get New York State back on track and out of the red.

To start, the proposal would rid New York state of a $10 billion deficit.

However, to achieve that goal, the proposal calls for spending cuts and wage freezes; as well as layoffs if necessary. It's going to take cooperation from the state legislature to pass the budget, Duffy said.

"We're in a state right now, with New York, that it's not time for politics as usual," said Duffy. "It's not time to be weak. It is no time to lack the courage of convictions to make decision. There is no easy way out."

Duffy told the room full of elected officials, business owners, and some members of the public Wednesday that the state was put into a fiscal mess by spending far more than they take in.

One example Duffy gave pointed to the last few years, where the state has had a guaranteed 13% spending increase factored into the budget, from year to year.

Utica Mayor David Roefaro says he knows the proposed cuts will impact the city, and its budget.

"Are these surprises? No. Are they deeper than we thought? A little bit." Roefaro said. "We have to make the hard choices. Just like the Governor has to, we have to here in Utica."

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