Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media after presenting his...

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media after presenting his budget message at St. Joseph's College's McGann Conference Center. (Feb. 23, 2011) Credit: Charles Eckert

ALBANY -- He didn't come right out and give himself an "A," but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is clearly happy with his first 100 days in office.

During a public radio interview, the freshman governor said his first three months-plus in office have been good for New York, primarily because the legislature followed his lead in adopting a budget that reduced spending for the first time in 15 years.

"I think it's been a good 100 days for the state," Cuomo said on "The Capitol Pressroom," a program that airs on numerous public radio stations around New York. "If I had told you 100 days ago: 'Well, the New York State Legislature is going to pass this budget on time,' I think there'd be significant disbelief. And it was a good budget, an honest budget, a clean budget. It's not a gimmick-laden budget. We didn't punt on the difficult issues."

Lawmakers adopted a spending plan on March 31, beating the April 1 deadline (the start of the state's fiscal year) for the first time in five years. The $132.5-billion plan trimmed overall spending $3.5 billion from last year, school spending $1.3 billion and Medicaid $1 billion. Cuomo blocked attempts by his fellow Democrats to renew an income-tax surcharge on high earners and won approval of a plan to close a handful of state prisons.

Cuomo has not successfully advanced any nonbudget legislation during his first 100 days, unlike some of his predecessors -- for example, Republican George Pataki reinstated the death penalty. Instead, Cuomo has put most of his emphasis on the state budget, staking some of his political capital on the idea that he could get government to run smoothly after years of gridlock and scandals.

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