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Off the hook

September 16, 2009 - John D'Agostino

New York state's budget deficit continues to grow ... and everytime you look it is someone else's fault, especially the current Albany leadership and Gov. David Paterson.

Paterson may not have the best ideas -- and deserves plenty of ridicule for decisions he has made during his 16 months as governor. But let's not forget the person who really left this mess -- George Pataki.

In 1994, nobody knew Pataki except for the fact he was the anti-Gov. Mario Cuomo. He would be good for business community, chop taxes and turn the state around.

Easy to say before he took office, but his results from 12 years were dreadful. Upstate population continued to decline as businesses continued their exodus.

He never had on-time budgets and was the king of spending increases and tax hikes.

In all, Pataki was a pretender. A do-nothing guy who never really took responsiblity for anything. Heck, the only time he made a trip to Chautauqua County was to endorse an area fellow Republican -- Cathy Young or Greg Edwards -- when they were running for office.

So sure. Blame Albany for the mess we're in. But know that Paterson is not totally at fault. The governor before Spitzer left no legacy -- and very few achievements worth noting.

In fact, you could make a good argument that the years with Pataki were much worse for Western New York than the years Cuomo was in the governor's chair.


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