Saturday, November 1, 2008

Politics of Budgeting in New York State

His tough-talking stance has its political advantages, of course. And that point has not been overlooked by Mr. Paterson’s advisers, who have made the economy the centerpiece of his administration. Voters who ordinarily would be wary of his liberal stance on most social issues could be swayed by his swift and stern handling of the budget, they believe.

But budget experts warned that the strategy could backfire if the cutting resulted in New Yorkers’ noticing a decrease in services, or if he came out looking too combative.

Mr. Paterson has, in somewhat scolding tones, called for lawmakers to get tough on spending. In August, he summoned them back to Albany and persuaded them to agree to $427 billion in cuts. In October, he announced he would call them back again, this time to ask for $2 billion in reductions.

Right now, the governor is popular because he’s saying we have to be responsible,” said Edmund J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative research group. “But when you do the right thing, the public never appreciates it. When you actually cut stuff and interest groups spend millions of dollars portraying you as someone who wants to leave Grandma on a gurney out on the street, that drives down your poll ratings.”

-As the Governor, a Newfound Thriftiness

Budget problems in American states

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