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Regional News

Highlights from Governor Pataki's Budget Presentation

By Elizabeth E. Christensen

Albany, NY – In order to drag New York out of the fiscal doldrums, Governor Pataki made some hard budgetary suggestions yesterday.

Medicaid and education funds would be cut by about $1.2 billion a piece. Bearing the brunt of these cuts would be teaching hospitals, nursing homes, and struggling public school districts.

Sales tax exmeptions on some clothing and shoes would be eliminated.

A number of state fees would rise ; At the DMV, photo IDs would rise from $3 to $5. Boat registration would double. Fees at State Parks would increase. The vehicle insurance fee would rise from $1 to $5. The annual fee for lobbyists would also rise.

Most disturbing for some in the Central New York community is Pataki's proposal to close two psychiatric hospitals. Hutchings in Syracuse and the Elmira Psychiatric Hospital are subject to a review.

The governor may have a hard time selling his plan to the legislature, however, so many insiders are taking a "wait and see" attitude.