Paterson’s year to clean up Albany begins

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. David Paterson on Wednesday called for turning New York into a national model of economic strength and trust in government — both now in tatters from historic fiscal and ethical crises.

“This is the winter of our reckoning,” Paterson told a joint session of the Legislature in his State of the State speech.

He said government by “popular will” has devolved into “the will to be popular,” resulting in more power for special interests, avoiding hard decisions on spending, and creating a “culture of addiction” to political power.

“We have to rise to the high expectations of the people,” Paterson said. “The public wants bolder and more decisive initiatives to win back their confidence.”

The Democrat said he would introduce ethics legislation to limit the influence of special interests that have helped drive more spending than New Yorkers can afford. He also wants a new independent agency to enforce ethics laws. And he proposed term limits for elected officials, including the governor, and requirements that “any state officers,” including legislators, disclose their outside business ties.

He called for curbing the state’s notorious overspending and for creating jobs, in part by renewing New York’s once mighty manufacturing sector. Among his proposals is the acquisition and renewal of abandoned factories for sale back to the private sector.

Politically weak as he runs for election in November, Paterson also tried to make sure the speech isn’t his last major address as governor.

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