NEW YORK - New York State's bankers are applauding the budget proposals submitted last week by new Gov. George E. Pataki as the first steps to turning around a lackluster economic performance.

"It's very positive news for bankers, very positive news for the state and very positive news for the future," said John Pritchard, executive director of the New York State Independent Bankers Association. "Only the future can predict whether it's going to be enough, (but) it's ... something that we all have to get behind."

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