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Cuomo To Lawmakers: Get Smart About Fiscal Woes

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo is already sharpening his budget ax and school aid is among his first targets.

He said the billions New York has spent to educate children has not paid off in results, reports CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

Monday marked Cuomo's first public appearance since the election -- a conference of Latino lawmakers in Puerto Rico -- and he wanted to make one thing perfectly clear: faced with a $9 billion dollar budget gap, education aid will be cut.

"The same way every family, every business has had to struggle through this economic recalibration, government is gong to have to go through the same economic recalibration and you're going to have to find better ways to provide the service," Cuomo said.

He said leading the nation in education spending just hasn't paid off for the state.

"How do you have the highest education spending in the state of New York and you're number 40 in terms of performance? That means it's not about the money because you're spending more than anyone else but you're not getting the performance. You're not getting the product," Cuomo said.

Union officials are furious.

"New York ranks 46th out of 50 states in how fairly schools funds are distributed," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. "That's a problem that has to be addressed if we are going to be fair to kids."

"This kind of inflammatory rhetoric will not help the process,'" added state teachers union chief Richard Iannuzzi.

Cuomo also said he intends to close the budget gap without tax hikes or fee increases, like the unpopular issuing of new license plates to charge more.

Powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver agrees.

On new taxes he told Kramer, "I think the past election shows that the people are not interested in new taxes."

And no fee hikes either.

"I think the public looks at those as more of a nuisance than taxes," Silver said.

Cuomo said he will meet with Gov. David Paterson this week to begin the passing of the baton. The new governor will be sworn in on Jan. 1.

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