Levy takes credit for state financial rescue plan

Suffolk County executive Steve Levy walks with his

Suffolk County executive Steve Levy walks with his wife, Colleen, before announcing his Republican candidacy for New York State governor outside the Capital building in Albany. (March 19, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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ALBANY - Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy took credit Tuesday for the financial rescue plan put forth by Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch to pull New York State back from the fiscal brink.

"I was kind of happy that he adopted my idea that I put on my Web site two months ago for this independent control board," Levy, who announced Friday that he was running for governor, told WNYC's Brian Lehrer in a radio interview.

Levy's 10-point "Plan to Save our State" calls for declaring a fiscal state of emergency to allow New York to create an independent board to institute cuts and budget reforms, as New York City did when it faced insolvency in the 1970s, Levy said.

The Ravitch plan would permit up to $2 billion per year in borrowing to help fill operating deficits - but only if tough measures, overseen by an empowered review board, are taken to correct New York's chronic overspending.

Levy said Ravitch "had a wonderful opportunity to do great things, to restructure the spending habits of the state, and they blew it, they copped out. . . . They said, don't do any cuts, don't do any caps. . . . Just use it as a shell for borrowing."

A spokesman for Ravitch declined to comment on Levy's remarks.

In the interview, Levy also misstated his party support in the 2007 election for county executive, telling Lehrer he hadn't gotten the liberal Working Families line. "I think they thought I went a little too far in trying to hold the line on taxes," Levy said.

Board of Election records show Levy had the party's endorsement that year - and that he drew 4,560 votes on the line.

Spokesman Mark Smith said Levy "knew he did not run unopposed in 2007, but the county executive today mistakenly recalled that one of his opponents was on the WFP line, when in fact the two opponents ran on the Libertarian line and the Integrity line."

Also Tuesday, Buffalo developer Carl Paladino, who is planning to run for governor as part of the tea party movement, said the national health care plan signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama will kill more Americans than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks did. Paladino said the results of the health care program will be so "horrific" that Americans will die because of deteriorating health care. With AP

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