Governor Paterson spoke apocalyptically to the legislature today — at least in terms of his own future — and pushed for the spending cuts he expects them to start work on tomorrow. “I will mortgage my political career on this [budget deficit reduction] plan,” Paterson said. “But I will not mortgage the fate of the State of New York.” Paterson also eschewed budget “gimmicks” such as bond refinancing, directing assemblymembers and senators at the joint session to enact his spending adjustments instead. He wants $5 billion in cuts over the next year and a half.
Liz Benjamin says Paterson got his only applause of the speech upon entering, upon leaving, and at the mention of gay marriage. “These women and men are members of our family, yours and mine,” he said. “But more importantly, they are members of the family of New York,” leaving room for some enterprising rightblogger to denounce his subordination of blood ties to those with the state.
Complaints from budget wets concerned that social service cuts will hurt the underprivileged are already rolling in, but Paterson seems to have plighted his troth and is not expected to back off. One good thing about being so unpopular is that he doesn’t need to care what most people think. Legislators may have other priorities.