New York Governor David A. Paterson today announced the release of a new Web site, that will lead the public in a discussion about how to control unsustainable growth in the size of New York's budget.

"With the state facing significant budget deficits and a struggling economy, New Yorkers deserve a frank and honest discussion about the need for greater fiscal responsibility in state government," said Paterson. "As we work to confront this crisis, I will continue to take my message of fiscal responsibility directly to the people."

As a result of recent, unprecedented turmoil on Wall Street -- a sector that accounts for 20 percent of tax revenues -- the state must close a budget shortfall of at least $1.5 billion in the current fiscal year and a deficit of $12.5 billion in 2009-10. Over the next four years, New York faces a projected cumulative budget gap of $47.0 billion -- the largest in state history.

The Web site has several features that will help engage New Yorkers in a discussion about our government's spending priorities. They include:

  • Information about New York's fiscal condition and Paterson's initiatives to control state spending
  • A section for New Yorkers to submit potential savings ideas, their input about the state's spending priorities, or any other comments about the budget process
  • A calculator that allows the public to create their own proposal to balance next year's budget, demonstrating the difficult tradeoffs necessary when closing a $12.5 billion deficit

To further the public dialogue on the state's fiscal crisis and hear directly from concerned New Yorkers, Paterson will host a town hall meeting at the Onondaga Civic Center in Syracuse on November 11, 2008. The meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be both moderated and taped by WCNY-TV 24. The public is invited to attend and participate in the taping.

Paterson has called for a special session of the Legislature to convene on November 18 to address the state's $1.5 billion current-year shortfall. Additionally, he will submit his 2009-10 Executive Budget more than one month early, on December 16, 2008, to get a head start on the process of aggressively confronting the state's substantial future deficits