Paterson Scolds Skelos From the Right, Explains the Importance of Being Nice

David Paterson took a shot at Republican State Senate Leader Dean Skelos for declaring yesterday that it wasn’t his responsibility to propose possible budget cuts, which the governor had asked legislative leaders to send him by November 7.

“No legislative leader has come up with cuts yet,” Paterson said this afternoon at a luncheon in downtown Manhattan hosted by The Economist. “And one, yesterday announced that he’s not doing it, that it’s not his responsibility, that it’s the governor’s responsibility. So, he now affirmed that his responsibility is not to be part of the process, but just to critique it.”

Paterson also said that he’d make cuts to the budget, regardless of what campaign contributors and lobbyists say.

“There is no element of our budget –  no matter who the advocate is, no matter who the lobbyist is, no matter how many resources have been shared, no matter how much money was contributed to legislators’ or governor’s campaign – that will be held harmless in this process,” Paterson said.

Despite the tough talk, though, Paterson later said that, amid an unprecedented financial crisis, he’s trying to build a consensus with members of the legislature, rather than simply scolding them into obedience.

The reason, in short, were the impasses faced by Governors Cuomo, Pataki and Spitzer after they tried strong-arming lawmakers.

“I served under three governors. The first one was Governor Cuomo, who would like to ridicule the legislators and hounded them in a bunker, and we had budgets go two and three months late. Then came Governor Pataki. He liked to ridicule legislators, and he did it publicly, and they shut his budgets down for as late as four months. Then came Governor Spitzer, who would give it to legislators personally and publicly, and they shut him down in the first year.”

Paterson Scolds Skelos From the Right, Explains the Importance of Being Nice