Much of Gov. Pataki's proposed state budget (his costly expansion of health care, in particular) is a far cry from the leaner, cleaner fiscal plans of his first term. But in at least one crucial respect, New York's revenue shortfall has prompted a welcome return to his budgetary roots: For the first time in seven years, the governor is launching a concerted effort to reduce the size of the state work force.
New York State's decision to roll the dice on more Indian casinos, video gaming and Powerball is ultimately expected to pump another $1 billion into the state treasury annually, but the inevitable court challenge may delay that payoff for several years. In the meantime, the state clearly faces a very real downturn in its economy and revenues.