Paterson Tells Bored Lawmakers to Worry

91118121 0 Paterson Tells Bored Lawmakers to WorryGovernor David Paterson didn’t exactly wow them with his big budget speech today in Albany. He was a few minutes late, quite a few lawmakers weren’t there, and some wondered if the address–which came in at less than half an hour–was even worth their time.

In his speech, the governor said what he’s been saying for awhile now. “Frankly, we are running out of money,” he told the lawmakers who showed up. He reiterated proposed cuts of $686 million dollars in education funding and $471 million to health care funding, and he bluntly addressed his own political situation.

“I will endure the heat of the special interests. I have mortgaged my political career on this plan, but I will not mortgage the fate of the state of New York,” Paterson said.

But with lawmakers looking down the barrel of a contentious special session, not all of them were happy to be there. “As a courtesy, with respect to the governor, we’re here,” Senator Malcolm Smith told Jimmy Vielkind. “I think we could have been better served getting eight or nine members together and negotiating for 24 or 48 hours straight.”

“He didn’t need to do this,” said Senator Tom Libous, a Republican.

But at least one Assembly Democrat enjoyed it. “It was the best speech I’ve ever heard him give,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Bing. “I’m serious.”