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The Department of Cultural Affairs should emerge unscathed from any city government downsizing because of its importance to the city's tourist trade, Mayor David Dinkins said Monday.

"I am mindful, as one person put it, that people don't come to New York to ski and look at the Alps," he told a New York Post forum. "Among the reasons they come to New York is the great cultural center that we have here, our museums and theaters and on and on and on."

Dinkins is looking for ways to consolidate city government to close a projected $1.3 billion budget gap next fiscal year. Some actions reportedly under consideration are moving the Landmarks Preservation Commission into either the city Planning Commission or Parks and Recreation Department, and moving the Taxi and Limousine Commission into Transportation or Consumer Affairs. About 15 of the 60-odd city agencies face uncertain futures.

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