After announcing his proposal to cap state spending, Gov. David Paterson was asked today why he didn’t support similar measures when he was a Democratic state senator and Republicans, then in the majority, proposed them.
Paterson admitted Republicans were right.
“Senate Republicans made a very good point about the spending and the need to limit it and I think they arrived at that point certainly before I did,” he told reporters today.
He said rather than fighting with the other party, political leaders should recognize when they have a good idea. Senate Republicans and Paterson last year, for example, both backed a cap on school-property taxes, but it didn’t get passed in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
But then Paterson said he hopes Republicans will offer him kudos for securing federal stimulus money for their hometown projects.
“Even though they are your adversaries in elections, sometimes you tip your hat to them,” he said, “the same way I hope they’re tipping their hat to us because they keep sending out press releases about how they got the stimulus money, but none of them admit that they would have voted for the bill.”
Here’s the reaction from Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County:
A month after he signed into law the biggest spending and tax increase in state history, Governor Paterson’s call for a spending cap is too little, too late for state taxpayers.
Senate Republicans passed a tougher, constitutional amendment to cap state spending twice since he has been Governor and we proposed a spending cap this year as an amendment to the state budget. Governor Paterson never lobbied Speaker Silver to bring the spending cap bill up for a vote in the Assembly, nor did he try to convince Senate Democrats to vote for our budget amendment last month.
In fact, the Governor doesn’t need a law or a Constitutional Amendment to cap state spending. He already has the power to freeze, cut or veto spending. Instead, Governor Paterson presided over budgets that included two of the biggest spending increases ever.
While I appreciate the Governor giving Senate Republicans credit for a good idea, I hope he follows through on his support for a spending cap more strongly than he did his property tax cap plan.
Senate Republicans are willing to work with the Governor going forward to put a real spending cap in place to bring runaway state spending under control and provide relief to taxpayers.