Paterson's 28-minute sprint of a state-of-the-state speech hit all the expected points: A call for campaign-financing reform and term limits on lawmakers; a shot at "special interests" that disregard the overall fiscal crisis; a rearrangement of jobs programs (he hailed the increase in business for minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises), a cap on growth in state spending.
NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox praised Paterson' words and intentions but said "New Yorkers require more" including action to solve economic problems. He said phasing out the Empire Zone program is a good idea, but not substituting it with other government-run efforts that should be the domain of private venture capitalists.
State Senate Finance Committee Chairman suggested Paterson was acting as if he hadn't been on the Albany scene for so long.
Steve Levy, the Suffolk executive, a possible candidate for governor, said, "I have long called for a spending cap and ethics reforms in Albany as the Governor did today. However, this state government will never clean up its own house. That is why I am calling for a statewide initiative and referendum (I&R) and a constitutional convention to empower the people to do what must be done."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called Paterson's an "ambitious agenda" to restore faith in government. "I don't agree with everything in that agenda, but I do agree that state government needs to take a serious look in the mirror," including reconsideration of the budget process.
Among those on hand: Nassau D.A. Kathleen Rice, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, former state Sen. Michael Balboni, former Gov. George Pataki....
Rice, who is widely thought to be exploring a bid for attorney general if Andrew Cuomo runs for governor this year, said she attended the State of the State address to help assess the state's current fiscal crisis.