Paterson speaks at ABNY event

Newly-sworn in New York Governor David Paterson spoke this morning at a meeting for the Association for a Better New York, which drew state and...

Newly-sworn in New York Governor David Paterson spoke this morning at a meeting for the Association for a Better New York, which drew state and city bigwigs such as former mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch and former governor Mario Cuomo. This was the first major address by the governor since being sworn-in three weeks ago; the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke four weeks ago. Doesn't it feel like ages since we first heard the term "Spitzer-gate"?

But kudos to the guv. He made a quick mention of "that thing that happened" and moved on to more important business, namely the effect of the economy on New York, the state budget, and the demise of the congestion pricing proposal. (For those not familiar, the proposal suggested fees for vehicles traveling in Manhattan with the goal of easing congestion and raising funds for other projects.)

Discussing the economy, Paterson dropped the "r" bomb, saying, "You can feel it every place we go," and pointing to a drop in the number of jobs and home sales in New York. He encouraged belt-tightening and financial prudence from state government. Paterson said the state budget, which was due on the April 1, should pass today.

While praising the state government for working together, he took a dig at it for killing the congestion pricing proposal. He acknowledged its flaws but praised the existence of the plan given that no one else had come up with one, drawing cheers from the crowd of obvious supporters. He also said a new city panel will take a look at other options to fill the gap left in the MTA budget.

Paterson's speech lasted about 30 minutes. Afterward he was whisked away by a group of men in black. Just as quickly, waiters, also dressed in black, began clearing dishes.

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