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Governor warns of 'perilous' times

The saying all politics is local is particularly true as municipal leaders dissect Gov. David Paterson's State of the State Address and his call for making local government more efficient.

In delivering his first State of the State Address to a packed Assembly Chamber at the Capitol in Albany on Wednesday, Jan. 7, the governor did not mince words concerning the financial problems that have now reached global proportions.

"So why not get right to the point, the state of our state is perilous," Paterson said in front of a joint session of lawmakers. "This is not a time for fear, this is a time for action, this is a time for courage, and this is a time for hope."

A handful of themes in the speech caught the ears of local officials in particular, including those here in Albany County, such as property taxes, state mandates and local government.

"We have to lower the cost of doing business in New York state, property taxes are too high, and we need a cap," Paterson said to a roaring standing ovation. "Our state mandates are too cumbersome our local governments are too expensive, and we have to find ways to make them more efficient."

Although Paterson didn't elaborate on the details of specific solutions, he laid out a laundry list of problems that plague the state, ranging from high unemployment and low consumer spending to spiraling health-care costs and a crashing stock market.

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin, D-Delmar, said he was pleased to hear Paterson addressing local issues and said he has been a longtime advocate of government consolidation and increased efficiency.

"I though he gave an excellent presentation, and is aware of the huge challenges that face us," Breslin said of the speech. "On the county level he is aware of the property tax situation."

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