“As the world has transformed and moved forward, it is only Albany that has stood still,” Spitzer said in his first State of the State address last year.
But a year later, Albany seems as still as ever, paralyzed with the very maladies Spitzer railed against in his first speech.
The capitol is in gridlock, with deals elusive and partisanship so fever-pitched no one remembers a stormier time.
Aides say it’s a theme the governor will acknowledge Wednesday, but not dwell on.
“We certainly are not blind to the fact that this has been a more challenging year than we could ever have anticipated,” said Spitzer’s Communications Director Christine Anderson.
Still don’t expect apologies. Spitzer will look forward, hoping for togetherness. The governor and legislature aren’t close, but we are still told we will hear the word “we” a lot.
“The tone of the speech is one of serious purpose,” said Director of State Operations Paul Francis. “He has a relationship with the legislature that clearly he believes could be improved. But he also recognizes that the legislature wants to join with him in getting things done.”
Monday he wouldn’t say too much of what he wants done.
But aides say at the top is reviving a habitually sagging upstate economy, improving state colleges, holding Medicaid spending while insuring more, and progress on Moynihan Station on Manhattan’s west side.
All this while Spitzer tackles a growing deficit inching towards $5 billion.
The governor may lack credibility when it comes to holding down spending. Last year he was critical of budgets that grew at three times the rate of inflation. But the budget he ended up passing did about the same thing.
“I think that the problems in this year’s budget would be less severe if he had lived up to the rhetoric in his first State of the State address,” said E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center.
But specific economic plans aren’t expected this time. That’s for another speech: his budget address in two weeks.
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