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Austerity theme of Paterson's 'State of State' talk

Fiscal austerity is likely to be a key theme of Wednesday's State of the State speech by Gov. David A. Paterson, and of his 2010 campaign.

"We've been spending beyond our means . . . someone has to stop the gravy train and it's me," he said during a New Year's Day open house at the Executive Mansion. He predicted that he and the State Legislature would have to close a deficit of as much as $9 billion in next year's budget.

Paterson said last year's battles with lawmakers and special interests over spending cuts would help him prevail in November's election. He faces a possible primary challenge from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

"The kind of leadership that we're showing is the best leadership for the future," Paterson said. "A whole lot of people will come out with all these great ideas [in campaigns], after the fact. But I've managed through this crisis and kept the state solvent."

- James T. Madore in Albany

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