Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo and outgoing Gov. David Paterson met privately and later addressed reporters in Manhattan on Tuesday to talk transition, taxes and the budget.
It was the first sit-down meeting between the two since Cuomo, the state attorney general, won the governor’s race last week.
“I feel very assured being replaced by someone who I think is going to do an excellent job,” Paterson told reporters.
“If he walked in with a baseball bat, I might have thought a little differently,” he joked, alluding to Cuomo’s gubernatorial rival, Carl Paladino, who threatened to bring one to Albany if he were elected.
Cuomo, 52, didn’t say who will join his cabinet, but said choosing personnel is his top priority. Once he takes office, he will tackle the state’s budget woes and the $9 billion budget deficit.
But he reiterated Tuesday that he won’t look to raise taxes.
“No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes,” he said. “That would be counterproductive for the state.”
He suggested cutting school and health care budgets to eat into the deficit.
Baruch College political analyst David Birdsell said it’s imperative for Cuomo to find new revenue sources.
Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University, said Cuomo will be going to Albany with the goodwill of the voters, which will serve him against a potentially uncooperative state Senate.