Gov’s cuts could cost boro colleges $102M

By Stephen Stirling

Gov. David Paterson proposed a plan to reduce state spending by more that $2.6 billion over the next two years to help eat into an expected $6.4 billion deficit next year, but it could come at a steep price for Queens' public colleges.

Paterson's plan, if adopted by the state Legislature, would see large reductions in Medicaid funding as well as stiff cutbacks on legislative programs and spending. Paterson's proposed cuts also include a 7 percent reduction in funding to City University of New York schools, or about $102 million over the next two fiscal years.

Queens College, York College, Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College are part of the CUNY system.

Paterson said the cuts are not ideal, but the state's financial situation is dire.

“On April 1, 2009, in just 232 days, we will have no other choice but to reduce spending and close a $6.4 billion budget gap. And if the economy continues to worsen, the spending reductions I have proposed will be necessary to help ensure the current year's budget remains in balance,” Paterson said. “Either way, the longer we fail to act, the more painful and limited our choices will be.”

State legislators are expected to convene a special session to discuss the looming budget shortfall Aug. 19.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, ext. 138.

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