Governor Paterson just finished up his first State of the State speech, reminding attendees of his favorite theme—fiscal calamity—and averred that “the state of our state is perilous.”
In contrast to speeches of years past in better times, Mr. Paterson laid out relatively few new initiatives that would come at any substantial cost. In terms of economic development, his calls for new revenue for projects were confined to the federal government, asking Congress to pass a stimulus package “by the end of the month.”
He devoted much of his speech to issues of energy, asking for an “energy revolution” that includes conservation efforts, a consortium to focus on batteries—particularly for hybrid cars—and calling for the creation of a New York “energy policy institute.”
Mention of specific economic development projects was scant, particularly for New York City (though he did offer a commitment to the M.T.A.’s East Side Access and Second Avenue Subway projects), and he made a pledge to focus on development efforts upstate.
“The fact remains that we still have to invest in targeted areas,” he said.
Other issues of focus in the speech included the announcement of an initiative to attack childhood obesity, a call for increased volunteerism statewide, an expansion of eligible health care benefits for young adults, and a plea to Washington to improve health care for veterans.