Paterson to Voters: Call Legislators on the Budget, But Don’t Criticize

Governor Paterson took to YouTube today to defend his suspension of $2.1 billion in education payments and to urge the Legislature to come to a deal on the budget, which will officially be late starting tomorrow.

From the video:

“We cannot accept a budget that cripples the State for our next generation and I will not accept a budget that rewards special interests, allowing them not to make the same sacrifices that average New Yorkers make everyday. None of us, including the Legislature, will benefit from a budget that appears to substitute election year window dressing with real fiscal reform.”

He strikes what is almost a sympathetic tone in urging the Legislature to pass a budget:

“Now to be fair, my legislative colleagues, the Senators, the Assembly members and their leaders are working very hard in Albany to try to ameliorate this problem and I don’t think that the barrier is their inability to grasp the gravity of our current financial woes. Rather, I think my colleagues are nervous about the cost of making these tough decisions.

“I served with them as a legislator for over 20 years, so I think I’m sensitive to the problems that they face. And so I urge all of you New Yorkers to contact your local legislators and not to criticize them, but rather to remind them that just as you have had to make the tough choices for yourselves and your families, now they have to make those difficult decisions for the State.”

This is in marked contrast to the castigation campaign he was on earlier in the year, taking every opportunity to insult his former colleagues. Of course, he is no longer running for governor, and it’s hard to pass a budget without the Legislature.