Activists rally against gov's proposed budget cuts

Dozens of people gathered in White Plains and throughout the state Thursday to protest Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget cuts, which could impact education, health care and housing.

"We stopped 178 evictions last year, we saved the county millions of dollars," says Dennis Hanratty, of the Mount Vernon United Tenants Association. "We lost that money; we won't be able to stop as many evictions, so more people are going to become homeless."

A spokesperson for the Budget Division said in a statement that the budget "equitably shares the sacrifice necessary to close a record $14 billion deficit through a series of difficult choices. Given the magnitude of this crisis, no area of government could be exempt."

Even the governor says he will be taking a pay cut. Protesters, however, dismiss Paterson's sacrifice as an empty gesture.

"Ten percent of his pay isn't going to make much of a difference for the people going to emergency rooms and hospitals," says Pat Welsh, of the Working Families Party.

By the end of March, the governor and the state Legislature must come up with $13 billion more in savings to balance the new budget, which goes into effect April 1.

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