Paterson stresses ethics in State of the State

(AP) - Gov. David Paterson used his State of the State address Wednesday to draw a blueprint for turning New Yorkinto a national model of economic strength and trust in government- both of which have been worn down by fiscal and ethical crises.

In a speech critical to improving his standing in the polls, theDemocrat called for curbing the state's notorious overspending andfor creating jobs, in part by renewing New York's once mightymanufacturing sector. Among his proposals is the acquisition andrenewal of abandoned factories for sale back to the private sector.

Paterson said he would introduce ethics legislation to limit theinfluence of special interests that have helped drive more spendingthan New Yorkers can afford. He also wants a new independent agencyto enforce ethics laws. And he proposed term limits for electedofficials as well as requiring them to disclose their outsidebusiness ties.

"Outside influences and inside decay have bred cynicism andscorn in the people we represent," the governor said, adding thathe expected pushback against his proposals. "Prosperity hides allmanner of sin, but no longer."

"The moneyed interests, many of them here today as guests, havegot to understand their days of influence in this Capitol arenumbered. They've demanded special treatment without regard forothers. ... There is no moral high ground in trampling on others toget there."

In addressing ongoing budget deficits, Paterson proposed mergingstate agencies and public tracking of agency performance. He askedLt. Gov. Richard Ravitch to take the lead on a four-year recoveryplan, proposed a constitutional spending cap and promised to usehis executive authority to veto or delay spending to keep thegovernment solvent.

"I will not write bad checks and we will not mortgage ourchildren's future," Paterson said.

Paterson said ethics reform and lower spending to keep propertytaxes down were key to attracting business to New York. Stateinitiatives will focus on clean energy, broadband access andinformation systems and biotechnology, with a planned new fund forentrepreneurs and research and development tax credits meant toencourage sharing information between research institutions andinvestors.

For the state's once booming manufacturing sector, Patersonproposed tax credits as well as buying, retrofitting and resellingabandoned factory sites. He said the state also has large,available stocks of dormant housing that he wants to see developed,starting with Buffalo, which has 23,000 vacant units.

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