Paterson’s Self-Described Legacy: Cuts

On a call with reporters today, which Governor Paterson held to chat about the completed budget, the lame-duck governor was asked about what he now views as his legacy.

Acknowledging he hadn’t yet done much introspection, he took a Chris Christie-esque line—albeit with less zeal—and pointed to his proven record as a budget slasher:

“In the last two and a half years that I’ve been governor, we have cut nearly $43 billion off of our deficit. There is no three-year period where we even cut a third of this. It doesn’t make you popular, it doesn’t exactly instill a feeling that you can spend money on projects so that you can go around and claim victory. But it does present the next governor with a far more balanced budget and a debt reduction than many governors around the state are going to get in the beginning of 2011.”

He also talked about his unfinished business—a property tax cap—and then had a classic invented idiom: “I think we’re on the right track, now we just have to get on the right train,” he said.