early and often

Paterson’s Speech Already Causing Albany Scramble

Governor Paterson

Photo: AP

Governor Paterson’s speech last night was short on specifics, but that didn’t stop state legislators and special-interest groups from yelping out protests and complaints last night and this morning. It turns out, shockingly enough, that tough talk isn’t something Albany can handle quietly. Below, some of the reactions — all issued before Paterson even releases his state financial plan this morning.

• The Post rounds up some quotes: “There’s no way on God’s green Earth that we can cut our way out of the budget gap,” the spendthrift Working Families Party insisted. “Cutting government spending is like knocking the economy when it’s down,” said the lefty Fiscal Policy Institute. “Middle-class families and our working poor must not be forced to bear the brunt of such cuts,” warned Sheldon Silver (even though Paterson vowed not to raise middle- and low-income taxes and to protect those groups). The tabloid concluded, “Clearly, Paterson was on the right track, to cause all that sputtering. But he’s plainly got an uphill battle.” [NYP]

• The Daily News called the speech “music to the ears”: “It no doubt irked legislators to hear gentlemanly David Paterson say lawmakers should give up ‘vacation’ time to address a crisis. But, truth be told, he was being charitable.” [NYDN]
• Azi Paybarah smelled something familiar in that part of Paterson’s rhetoric: “Creeping Spitzerism?” the blogger asks. [NYO]
• State employees, who were warned by Paterson, are already holding their breath for job cuts. [Albany Times-Union]
• Some see an impending “millionaire’s tax” coming out of all of this. [Newsday]
• But John Faso, a former State Assembly minority leader, advises against this. He calls it “economic poison”: “The top one percent of taxpayers in New York State already generates 38 percent of the income taxes and nearly a quarter of all state taxes. Even higher taxes on this group will simply drive the successful away from our state.” [NYDN]
• The Sun pooh-poohed the idea that our economic situation was worth “Paterson’s panic”: “It sounded as if New York was in the midst of a Great Depression rather than a mere slowdown in what is, after all, one of the most prosperous states in one of the most prosperous economies in the history of the world.” [NYS]
• Comptroller Bill Thompson thinks the “governor has done the appropriate thing. He’s getting out in front of it.” [YouTube]
• State Democrats and Republicans are already squabbling over a proposed property-tax cap, which the GOP supports but Sheldon Silver worries will affect schools. [NYT]
• Meanwhile, Paterson himself is moving ahead. He wants a state hiring freeze and cuts of up to 7 percent from state agencies. [NYDN]

Paterson’s Speech Already Causing Albany Scramble