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History > 2008 > USA > Politics > Governors (I)




Illustration: David Suter


Lessons From the Fall of Spitzer


















Kansas Governor Vetoes Bill

to Revive 2 Coal-Fired Plants


March 22, 2008
The New York Times


Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas vetoed a measure on Friday that would have forced the state to approve two coal-fired power plants producing large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The veto, which was expected, is unlikely to be overridden in the Kansas House of Representatives, two legislators said. The State Senate passed the measure with a veto-proof majority.

The two proposed plants, to be built by the Sunflower Electric Corporation in the southwest corner of the state, would generate 1,400 megawatts of electricity and produce up to 11 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions. Because of the large production of greenhouse gases, the state’s secretary of health and the environment, Rod Bremby, withheld approval for the plants.

“We know that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change,” Governor Sebelius wrote in a news release. “As an agricultural state, Kansas is particularly vulnerable. Therefore, reducing pollutants benefits our state not only in the short term but also for generations of Kansans to come.”

In addition to vetoing the bill to revive the coal plants, Ms. Sebelius, a Democrat, issued an executive order creating an advisory group to advise the governor on energy and environmental policy. She selected Jack Pelton, the chief executive of Cessna Aircraft, based in Kansas, as head of the new group.

Ken Wick, a Republican legislator, said in a telephone interview that a new measure was being drafted to revive the coal-plant proposal. This bill, he said, would be crafted to win over the representatives siding with Ms. Sebelius and blocking the chance for a veto override.

    Kansas Governor Vetoes Bill to Revive 2 Coal-Fired Plants, NYT, 22.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/22/us/22kansas.html






Paterson Discusses

Past Extramarital Affairs


March 18, 2008
The New York Times


ALBANY — The day after he was sworn in to replace a governor who left office in disgrace because of a prostitution scandal, Gov. David A. Paterson admitted that he had had relationships with women other than his wife, including one who is on the state payroll.

Mr. Paterson made the disclosure at a news conference at the State Capitol, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, who held his hand as they entered the Red Room.

“I betrayed a commitment to my wife several years ago,” Mr. Paterson said with his wife at his side. “And I do not feel I’ve betrayed my commitment to the citizens of New York State. I haven’t broken any laws. I don’t think I’ve violated my oath of office. I saw this as a private matter. But both of us committed acts of infidelity.”

He said he and his wife had been on a course toward divorce but had been able “to patch things up” with the help of counseling. “We’re very much in love with each other now,” the governor said. “I was in love with Michelle even when I knew the marriage was in grave danger.”

He added: “The fact is for my own action, I was angry, I was jealous and I exercised poor judgment. One day I realized it and I just decided I would go to counseling.”

He said he believed the couple had benefited by improved communication. “When we appear in public now you will see the real relationship,” he said.

It was yet another surreal scene in Albany, a city still reeling from revelations last week that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had become ensnared in a federal investigation into a high-priced prostitution ring and his resignation. That another governor could have questions raised about his sex life, so soon after being sworn in, seemed agonizing to many here.

For his part, Mr. Paterson continued with state business on Tuesday, holding an open “leaders meeting” in the afternoon to discuss the state budget with Joseph L. Bruno, the majority leader in the Republican-controlled Senate, and Sheldon Silver, the Democrat who is speaker of the State Assembly.

In the earlier news conference, Mr. Paterson said he was speaking out because he did not want the state to become embroiled in another sordid distraction.

“I wanted to come forward because I didn’t want it hanging over my head,” Mr. Paterson said. “I didn’t want to be compromised, perhaps, by innuendo or some sort of message that you better not do something or we’re going to out you about the infidelity in your marriage.”

Mr. Paterson flatly denied that he had ever used any campaign money in connection with the affairs. “I would never use campaign funds for that purpose,” he said.

Mr. Paterson did most of the talking during the news conference. But twice Mrs. Paterson spoke in a hushed, soft voice. “There’s no marriage that’s perfect,” she said at one point.

In response to a question, Mr. Paterson said he had had an affair with a state employee who was not under his supervision at the time. He acknowledged that the employee still works for the state and “we will try to accommodate that employee’s wishes.”

By midmorning, word of Mr. Paterson’s admissions had filtered through the Capitol. And once again, the state’s top political leaders found themselves fielding questions about how the state could weather the personal crisis of a governor.

Senator Joseph L. Bruno, the majority leader, said the Patersons’ marital problems were nobody’s business but their own as he brushed off suggestions that the affair threatened to interfere with the state’s business.

“His personal life is his personal life and he has to share what he’s comfortable sharing,” Mr. Bruno told reporters this morning. “And as long as it doesn’t interfere with how he’s governing, its nobody’s business. David is able to handle himself. He’s always been a good friend and handled himself properly, and I expect he will continue to handle himself properly.”

Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the State Assembly, said he admired Mr. Paterson’s courage in admitting the infidelity and suggested that the couple’s past problems, which he called “a nice story,” could serve as an inspiration to other couples who find their marriages imperiled.

“He basically said: ‘Here are the facts. It’s not an uncommon occurrence in people’s lives when marriages are failing, and this is how we worked it out,’ ” Mr. Silver said. “I think it should be a message to people who maybe find themselves in similar circumstances.”

    Paterson Discusses Past Extramarital Affairs, NYT, 18.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/nyregion/18cnd-paterson.html?hp






Paterson Is Sworn In

as New York Governor


March 17, 2008
The New York Times


ALBANY — Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson was sworn in as the state’s 55th governor on Monday, almost exactly a week after revelations emerged that his predecessor, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had patronized a prostitute and faced federal investigation.

Mr. Paterson spoke before a joint session of the state Assembly and Senate, with dozens of high-ranking officials in the audience. Many clearly ached for a conclusion to what has been an unusually sordid ordeal even for Albany, a capital well-acquainted with political scandal.

In a relatively brief speech lasting 30 minutes, Mr. Paterson, offered soothing rhetoric about unity and partnership, warmly saluting Albany’s legislative leaders and alluding briefly to Mr. Spitzer’s difficulties over the past year in working with the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled state Senate.

“What we are going to do from now on is what we always should have done: We are going to work together,” Mr. Paterson said. “With conviction in our brains and compassion in our hearts and the love for New York on our sleeves, we will dedicate ourselves to principle but always maintain the ability to listen.”

But Mr. Paterson’s inaugural remarks were most striking for what was absent from them.

In a speech with so many nods to other elected officials that even a former lieutenant governor made the cut, Mr. Paterson made no mention of Mr. Spitzer, who plucked him from virtual obscurity to join the ticket for statewide office in 2006, and whose powerful and at times overbearing personality were the central fact of political life here for nearly a year and a half.

Mr. Paterson alluded only vaguely to Mr. Spitzer’s resignation, noting that New York had experienced “a very difficult week.” And he made no particular commitment to Mr. Spitzer’s political priorities. Though he and his staff have sent signals in recent years that continuity would be a key theme of the transition between administrations, Mr. Paterson made no suggestion that Mr. Spitzer’s core agenda items deserved to survive even if the former governor’s career did not.

Indeed, Mr. Paterson offered almost no specific policy proposals or promises, though an aide said that the new governor would lay out a more a specific agenda in the days ahead. He hewed closely to the theme of unity, describing himself as Brooklyn-born, Long-Island-educated, and Harlem-residing, to rousing cheers from elected officials who hailed from each of those areas.

Unlike Mr. Spitzer, who in his inaugural address 15 months ago fired shot after shot across the bow of Albany’s political establishment, Mr. Paterson warmly embraced the capital’s two other major powers, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno.

“Let us grab the unusual opportunities that circumstance has handed us today and put personal politics, party advantage and power struggles aside, in favor of service in the interests of the people,” Mr. Paterson said.

Only when his speech turned to the worsening economic downturn and its likely effect on the state budget gap did Mr. Paterson offer a hint of challenge.

“We are looking at an economy that is reeling and I must say to all of you in government and all of you in business that you must meet with me in the next couple of weeks and adjust our budget accordingly,” Mr. Paterson said, suggesting that budget austerity may be needed.”

Mr. Paterson, the state’s first blind governor as well as the first black one, also nodded to the historic nature of his swearing-in.

“I have confronted the prejudice of race, and challenged the issues of my own disability,” he said. “I have served in government for over two decades. I stand willing and able to lead this state to a brighter future and a better tomorrow.”

“Let me reintroduce myself,” he concluded. “I am David Paterson, and I am the governor of New York State.”

At times, the event felt more like something of a coronation for Mr. Paterson, the scion of a Harlem political fraternity that is powerful and well-connected in New York politics. His father, Basil A. Paterson, a former state senator and secretary of state, stood behind him when he first ascended the dais, as did his mother, his wife, Michelle, and his two children. They remained there as Mr. Paterson, a well-liked veteran of Albany, was greeted by exultant cheers and whistles, and a lengthy standing ovation.

“It’s a great day for New York, and for those of us from Harlem, it’s an even greater day,” said Senator Bill Perkins, a Democratic senator from Manhattan, who replaced Mr. Paterson when he was elected lieutenant governor.

New York’s United States senators, Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, were in attendance, along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former New York governors Hugh L. Carey and George E. Pataki, and the current governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

It was Mr. Pataki’s first trip to Albany since undergoing intestinal surgery earlier this March, and his second inaugural in two years.

Mrs. Clinton, no stranger to divisiveness in politics, said she believed Mr. Paterson would seek to bring some unity and cohesion to the state as governor, and would not favor downstate interests over upstate ones.

“I think that he understands completely that he has to reach out and involve everyone and he intends to do that just as he has throughout his entire career,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Mr. Paterson also spoke briefly on Monday with President Bush, who called the governor-designate just before 9 a.m. to wish him well, telling Mr. Paterson that he looked forward to meeting.

“He said his friends told him that while it was a big job, he could handle it,” the White House press secretary, Dana M. Perino, said.

Throughout his speech, Mr. Paterson struck a mirthful, even casual tone, more like the news-conference banter at which he excels than a major public address.

Whereas Mr. Spitzer favored a sermon-on-the-mount style of oratory, Mr. Paterson at times sounded more like the announcer at a Las Vegas boxing match. At least a third of his speech was devoted to respectfully introducing legislative leaders and other officials in attendance, each of whom was introduced with a flourish and a backslapping joke.

Introducing Mr. Bruno, for example, Mr. Paterson recalled how the Senate leader had once invited him to his upstate horse farm for dinner.

“I’ll go,” Mr. Paterson recalled replying. “But I’m going to take my taster with me.”

No joke, that: Despite his friendship with Mr. Bruno, Mr. Paterson whittled four seats from the Republican majority during his four years as Senate minority leader. Privately, some Democrats were already thinking beyond the budget, to the fall elections, where control of the State Senate — the final bastion of Republican power in New York — will be at stake.

Entering office last year with overwhelming popularity, Mr. Spitzer was expected to be the anchor of his party’s efforts to retake the Senate. Over the last year and a half, his fund-raising and political support helped the Democratic minority win two more Senate seats.

Mr. Paterson is not untested in such matters. But his fund-raising ability and skills at the bully pulpit are essentially untested, as senior Democratic officials noted on Monday.

“There’s no question he had resources available both personally and in his ability to tap,” said Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat and leader of the Queens County party. “But there will be others to fill those voids I think—David, being one of them, will have to step up in that regard, to ensure that the money that is needed will be raised and emphasis is put where it is needed.”

Well before stepping into the baroque chamber of the State Assembly and to be sworn in by the state’s chief judge, Judith S. Kaye, Mr. Paterson wanted his swearing-in ceremony to convey a sense of coming together.

To dispel any notion that the event has a celebratory tone, Mr. Paterson and his staff referred carefully the ceremony as a swearing-in, not an inauguration.

There was some debate among Mr. Paterson’s top aides about whether to hold a large public ceremony or a small private one. It was felt that a large ceremony could give the appearance that Mr. Paterson was wallowing in Mr. Spitzer’s downfall.

But Mr. Paterson was aware of the symbolism of bringing together all three branches of government in the room known as “the people’s chamber.”

Mr. Paterson spent the weekend drafting the speech, rehearsing it and committing it to memory. Because he is legally blind, he does not have the luxury of being able to read from a teleprompter. So his remarks were be partly memorized and partly improvised, aides said.

Sewell Chan, Danny Hakim, Trymaine Lee, Steven Lee Myers and Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting.

    Paterson Is Sworn In as New York Governor, NYT, 17.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/17/nyregion/17cnd-paterson.html?hp







Lessons From the Fall of Spitzer

March 13, 2008
The New York Times


To the Editor:

Many describe the Eliot Spitzer scandal and the governor’s resignation as a tragedy. I don’t. There was never a question that sooner or later Eliot Spitzer’s hypocritical arrogance would lead him to self-destruct. The only question was how.

Donald Nawi
Scarsdale, N.Y., March 12, 2008

To the Editor:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has resigned, effective Monday? He clearly is not capable of performing any meaningful duty at this point, and has no right to cling to office for another five days.

Who knows what crisis could erupt in that time, leaving the state effectively without a governor?

John G. Guinan
New York, March 12, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “The Myth of the Victimless Crime,” by Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek (Op-Ed, March 12):

In the various political roundtables this week, everyone seemed to agree, at least, on the “victimless crime” argument. I am shocked that the thoughtful, intelligent people (mostly men) on these shows are so comfortable with the idea that a woman would choose to have sex for money.

Do these people know any women? Can they really believe that this is a choice?

We have programs in place to reach out to people who “choose” to use drugs or “choose” to live on the streets, so why do we view prostitution, high-priced though it may be, as just another comfortable, middle-class career choice?

Yes, Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute probably drank fine wine. That doesn’t change the fact that she engaged in a psychologically damaging transaction every day.

I applaud Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek for calling our attention to the one neglected and yet terribly important issue of the Spitzer scandal.

Kathleen Reeves
New York, March 12, 2008

To the Editor:

Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek are correct. I would like to add that seeing Silda Wall Spitzer’s stricken face on TV — not to mention pondering what the Spitzer daughters must be going through — shows prostitution to be far from “victimless.”

Patty Quinn
Elkins Park, Pa., March 12, 2008

To the Editor:

On the human level, many people in New York experienced a palpable level of shock and despair from the current and expected fallout for Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his family, not the least of which were repeated expressions of concern for their three teenage daughters.

It is very hard for children to make sense of the infidelity of one of their parents. While no one knows the interior of another’s marriage, one thing we do know is that any marriage that is not actively maintained is at risk for fracturing of one type or another.

Those who work the soil know that a beautiful garden one year will not reappear without active work.

In our business, it is understood that longstanding relationships, no matter how critical, will not remain vibrant by inertia.

The sad news in the news is that any marriage is subject to risk. The good news? We know a great deal about what couples can do to understand, develop and repair their relationships when the willingness to work is there.

Elana Katz
New York, March 12, 2008

The writer is a member of the senior faculty at the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

To the Editor:

Your March 11 editorial “Mr. Spitzer’s ‘Private Matter’ ” described Eliot Spitzer as “caught up in his own arrogance.” In the meantime, stories have been circulating about trading floors on Wall Street erupting in cheers at the news of his downfall, and bottles of Champagne being opened at certain investment banks.

Let’s talk about arrogance!

Jonathan Rich
Somerville, Mass., March 12, 2008

    Lessons From the Fall of Spitzer, NYT, 13.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/opinion/l13spitzer.html






Felled by Scandal,

Spitzer Says Focus Is on His Family


March 13, 2008
The New York Times


Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose rise to political power as a fierce enforcer of ethics in public life was undone by revelations of his own involvement with prostitutes, resigned on Wednesday, becoming the first New York governor to leave office amid scandal in nearly a century.

The resignation will be effective on Monday at noon. Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson, a state legislator for 22 years and the heir to a Harlem political dynasty, will be sworn in as New York’s 55th governor, making him the state’s first black chief executive.

Mr. Spitzer announced he was stepping down at a grim appearance at his Midtown Manhattan office, less than 48 hours after it emerged that he had been intercepted on a federal wiretap confirming plans to meet a call girl from a high-priced prostitution service in Washington, leaving the public stunned and angered and bringing business in the State Capitol to a halt.

With his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, at his side, Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, said he would leave political life to concentrate on healing himself and his family.

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he said. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer, 48, spoke in a somber but steady voice, softening his usual barking tone. He took no questions. His wife, in a dark suit and a brightly colored scarf, looked off to the side, occasionally glancing up to reveal deep circles beneath her eyes.

Though he came into office last January with a sweeping electoral mandate for change, Mr. Spitzer’s time as governor was marked by fierce combat and costly stumbles. He faced a scandal last year after members of his staff used the State Police to disseminate damaging information about his chief Republican rival, Joseph L. Bruno, the leader of the State Senate.

Since Monday, Mr. Spitzer has been consumed with crisis, trying to salvage his marriage and his career and avoid federal charges stemming from the case.

A man defined by ambition and relentlessness, Mr. Spitzer appeared to struggle with the decision to relinquish power. On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Spitzer instructed his staff to contact the office of Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the Assembly and a fellow Democrat, to see if an impeachment vote could be avoided.

But it was clear during the discussions that it was hopeless, with many Democrats prepared to abandon him.

During his remarks, which lasted less than three minutes, Mr. Spitzer did not address the pending criminal investigation, and it remained unclear what legal issues, if any, Mr. Spitzer will face.

The United States attorney investigating the case issued a statement shortly after the resignation saying that his office does not have any arrangement with the governor.

In Albany, some of Mr. Spitzer’s staff members were clearing out their desks as Mr. Paterson and his top aides prepared to move into the executive offices. Charles O’Byrne, a longtime assistant to Mr. Paterson, is replacing Richard Baum as the governor’s top aide. Most other top Spitzer loyalists were expected to depart.

Mr. Spitzer’s resignation was accompanied by relief, shock and a sense of the surreal. Legislative leaders from both parties voiced condolences to Mr. Spitzer’s wife and three daughters and welcomed Mr. Paterson.

Mr. Bruno, who had once called Mr. Spitzer “a spoiled brat,” shunned fiery language on Wednesday.

He said he hoped Mr. Spitzer’s ignominious fall would force lawmakers to focus more intently on addressing the state’s financial crisis, and he declined to say how Mr. Spitzer’s departure might affect the fight for control of the State Senate this year.

“I’m going to leave it to the governor and his family to sort out how they deal with present circumstances and the future,” Mr. Bruno said at a morning news conference. “And frankly, I have them in my prayers.”

Many Democrats on the floor of the Assembly seemed almost jovial in the hours after Mr. Spitzer resigned. Some admitted privately that they were happy that the contentious and sometimes scolding governor was being replaced by Mr. Paterson, a likable lawmaker comfortable with the customs of Albany. Mr. Paterson will have to adjust quickly: The deadline for passing next year’s budget is March 31.

Mr. Spitzer had never seemed completely at ease in the hallways of the Capitol, and as this week’s crisis engulfed him, few in the state’s political establishment came forward to offer support. And since Monday, the governor had disappeared from public view, retreating to his Fifth Avenue apartment for what associates described as agonizing deliberations with his wife, lawyers and a handful of close friends.

The son of a wealthy real estate investor, Mr. Spitzer was educated at Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office before being elected New York’s attorney general in 1998.

It was there that Mr. Spitzer built a reputation as a prosecutorial avenger, bringing some of Wall Street’s biggest names to heel and pressuring banks, insurance companies and brokerage houses to pay defrauded investors huge settlements and to adopt tighter regulations.

The audacity of Mr. Spitzer’s vision and his combative style made him a reviled figure on Wall Street. But to millions of Americans who felt swindled in an age when executive salaries and the income gap between rich and middle class were rapidly growing, Mr. Spitzer was viewed as a guardian against corporate excess.

He was so successful at using the relatively limited office of the state attorney general to redress the regulatory failures of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission that he was swept into the governor’s office in a landslide. Some of Mr. Spitzer’s admirers mused that he might one day be the first Jewish president.

And as he stepped to the podium shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, some Wall Street traders watched gleefully as his career came to an abrupt end.

Elsewhere, Mr. Spitzer’s departure stirred other emotions. Susan B. A. Samuel of South Ozone Park, Queens, said she was proud that New York would have its first black governor.

“I’m very proud to say that he’s a brother,” said Ms. Samuel, who is black. “I’m very excited. It is kind of a sweet sorrow.”

Mr. Paterson, who asked Mr. Spitzer to delay his departure until Monday so he could be sworn in before a joint session of the Legislature, issued a brief statement offering condolences to the Spitzers and promising to quickly turn his attention to governing.

“It is now time for Albany to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us,” Mr. Paterson said.

Mr. Spitzer becomes the first New York governor to resign since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced out since William Sulzer was impeached in 1913 over a campaign contribution fraud.

On Wednesday, Mr. Spitzer ended his remarks by pledging to return to public service outside the political realm, after a period of atonement with his family.

He invoked a common aphorism to make a final nod toward the enduring American belief in the possibility of redemption. “As human beings,” he said, “our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

    Felled by Scandal, Spitzer Says Focus Is on His Family, NYT, 13.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/nyregion/13spitzer.html






Spitzer Resigns, Citing Personal Failings


March 12, 2008
The New York Times


Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on. Part of that debate involved whether Mr. Spitzer would be able to work out a deal with prosecutors to avoid criminal charges.

In a rare move, Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, released a statement after Mr. Spitzer’s resignation saying that there is no deal.

“There is no agreement between this Office and Governor Eliot Spitzer, relating to his resignation or any other matter,” Mr. Garcia said.

In the moments after Mr. Spitzer resigned, his successor, Mr. Paterson, also released a statement saying that he was “saddened” by what had happened and that “my heart goes out to him and to his family at this difficult and painful time.”

“It is now time for Albany to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us,” he said.

As Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, took the past two days to contemplate his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who will become the lieutenant governor when Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene. When Mr. Spitzer finally emerged from the building at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday and got into an S.U.V. with his wife, news helicopters followed above as the S.U.V. made the 40-block trek to Mr. Spitzer’s headquarters on Third Avenue.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington. A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

In his Washington visit with the prostitute, Mr. Spitzer is said to have used an alias to book one of his rooms at the Mayflower Hotel, the name of a close friend, the financier George Fox.

Mr. Fox released a statement yesterday that said he was surprised and disappointed by Mr. Spitzer’s misuse of his name. “There is absolutely no connection between Mr. Fox and the governor’s alleged activity beyond the unauthorized use of his name,” the statement said.

Authorities were seeking the testimony of the woman known as Kristen, who worked for the Emperor’s Club service and is identified in the criminal complaint as having met with the governor last month in Washington, people briefed on the case said.

The woman is said in the complaint to have typically charged $1,000 an hour.

After her encounter with Client 9, the prostitute told the booker for the agency that it had gone well, and the booker told her that he, in an apparent reference to Client 9, sometimes asked the women “to do things that, like, you might not think were safe.”

Two of the defendants from the escort service were still being held in federal custody on Tuesday. Two other employees, who have been released, declined to discuss their work for what has become a highly publicized business.

“We are too early in this complex investigation for me to make any comment,” said Marc Agnifilo, the lawyer representing one of the bookers, Temeka Lewis.

Mr. Spitzer, who has three daughters, offered a general apology to his family and the people of New York on Monday, but did not address the specific allegations.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Urbina, Sewell Chan, Jo Becker, Cara Buckley, Russ Buettner, Nicholas Confessore, Lisa W. Foderaro, Kate Hammer, C. J. Hughes, Andrew Jacobs, Serge F. Kovaleski, Trymaine Lee, Jennifer Mascia, Mike McIntire, Jeremy W. Peters, Michael Powell and William K. Rashbaum.

    Spitzer Resigns, Citing Personal Failings, NYT, 12.3.2008,http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/nyregion/12cnd-resign.html?hp






New York Gov. Spitzer's resignation statement


Wed Mar 12, 2008
12:36pm EDT


NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned on Wednesday after media reports that he was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute at a Washington hotel last month.

Following is a transcript of Spitzer's resignation statement:

"In the past few days I have begun to atone for my private failings with my wife Silda, my children and my entire family.

"The remorse I feel will always be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.

"From those to whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given much, the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York and the chance to lead this state.

"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.

"I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been but I also know that, as a public servant, I and the remarkable people with whom I worked have accomplished a great deal.

"There is much more to be done and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work.

"Over the course of my public life I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself.

"For this reason I am resigning from the office of governor.

"At Lieutenant Governor (David) Paterson's request, the resignation will be effective Monday, March 17, a date that he believes will permit an orderly transition.

"I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.

"As I leave public life I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family and I will try once again outside of politics to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.

"I hope all of New York will join my prayers for my friend David Paterson as he embarks on his new mission and I thank the public once again for the privilege of service."

(Reporting by Emily Chasan and Christine Kearney; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

    New York Gov. Spitzer's resignation statement, R, 12.3.2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1220108520080312?virtualBrandChannel=10112






Op-Ed Contributors

The Myth of the Victimless Crime

March 12, 2008
The New York Times


WHAT do we know about the woman Gov. Eliot Spitzer allegedly hired as a prostitute? She was the one person he ignored in his apology. What is she going through now? Is she in danger from organized crime because of what she knows? Is anyone offering her legal counsel or alternatives to prostitution?

“I’m here for a purpose,” she said in a conversation with her booking agent after meeting with Governor Spitzer, according to the affidavit of the F.B.I agent who investigated the prostitution ring. “I know what my purpose is. I’m not a ... moron, you know what I mean.”

Her purpose, as a man who knew patiently explained, is “renting” out an organ for 10 minutes. Men rent women through the Internet or by cellphone as if they were renting a car. And now, in response to the news about Governor Spitzer, pundits are wading into the age-old debates over whether prostitution is a victimless crime or whether women are badly hurt in prostitution no matter what they’re paid.

Whose theory is it that prostitution is victimless? It’s the men who buy prostitutes who spew the myths that women choose prostitution, that they get rich, that it’s glamorous and that it turns women on.

But most women in prostitution, including those working for escort services, have been sexually abused as children, studies show. Incest sets young women up for prostitution — by letting them know what they’re worth and what’s expected of them. Other forces that channel women into escort prostitution are economic hardship and racism.

The Emperor’s Club presented itself as an elite escort service. But aside from charging more, it worked like any other prostitution business. The pimps took their 50 percent cut. The Emperor’s Club often required that the women provide sex twice an hour. One woman who was wiretapped indicated that she couldn’t handle that pressure. The ring operated throughout the United States and Europe. The transport of women for prostitution was masked by its description as “travel dates.”

Telephone operators at the Emperor’s Club criticized one of the women for cutting sessions with buyers short so that she could pick up her children at school. “As a general rule,” one said, “girls with children tend to have a little more baggage going on.”

Whether the woman is in a hotel room or on a side street in someone’s car, whether she’s trafficked from New York to Washington or from Mexico to Florida or from the city to the suburbs, the experience of being prostituted causes her immense psychological and physical harm. And it all starts with the buyer.

Melissa Farley is the author of “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections.” Victor Malarek is the author of “The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade.”

    The Myth of the Victimless Crime, NYT, 12.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/opinion/12farley.html















11 March 2008















NY Republicans threaten to impeach Spitzer


Tue Mar 11, 2008
1:16pm EDT
By Claudia Parsons


NEW YORK (Reuters) - State Republicans threatened on Tuesday to impeach New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer if he does not quit over a sex scandal that has raised questions over whether he could face criminal charges.

The threat added to pressure on Spitzer, a Democrat and former state chief prosecutor who made his name fighting white-collar crime on Wall Street, to step down after a report that he hired a high-priced prostitute.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a person close to Spitzer, who is 48 and married, as saying he could resign as early as Tuesday but he wanted to deal with his family crisis first.

"If he does not resign within the next 24 to 48 hours, we will prepare articles of impeachment to remove him," said Assembly Republican Minority Leader James Tedisco.

"We need a leader in place that has the support of people on both sides of the aisle," Tedisco told Reuters.

The New York Times said on Monday that Spitzer hired a $1,000-an-hour prostitute and was caught on a federal wiretap at least six times on February 12 and 13 arranging to meet with her at a Washington hotel.

Spitzer, who investigated prostitution as New York state's chief prosecutor but was best known for his high-profile probes of Wall Street, apologized on Monday for what he described as a "private matter" but said nothing about resigning.

He neither confirmed nor denied the report.

"Eliot Spitzer, the onetime nemesis of Wall Street now engulfed in a sex scandal, is likely to resign, perhaps as early as today, according to a person close to him," the Wall Street Journal said on its Web site on Tuesday.

Tedisco said on Monday night he had received a phone call from Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson to discuss a possible transition of power if Spitzer resigns.

Spitzer, viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party, spent the night holed up at his Manhattan home, besieged by media.

The New York Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported on Tuesday that the investigation began last year during an Internal Revenue Service review of suspicious financial transactions as reported to it by banks.

"The payments were made over a period of several months in a way that investigators believe was intended to conceal their purpose and source, which could amount to a crime called structuring," punishable by up to five years in prison, the Times said.

Spitzer was elected governor with nearly 70 percent of the vote in late 2006 following a stint as state attorney general when he conducted a series of investigations into financial cases, attracting much publicity but also resentment on Wall Street.



The Times said in an editorial that Spitzer's insistence in his brief appearance on Monday that it was a "private matter" displayed arrogance. "He did not just betray his family in a private matter," the newspaper said.

"He betrayed the public and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected to office."

The Wall Street Journal said Spitzer had shown his lack of restraint in overly aggressive tactics as attorney general, making "extraordinary threats" to entire firms and to those who criticized his pursuit of high-profile Wall Street figures.

"The stupendously deluded belief that the sitting Governor of New York could purchase the services of prostitutes was merely the last act of a man unable to admit either the existence of, or need for, limits," it said in an editorial.

At the heart of the scandal is a criminal complaint unveiled last week charging four people with running a prostitution ring dubbed The Emperors Club. Prosecutors rarely bring charges against clients of prostitutes in such cases.

The New York Times said Spitzer was an individual identified as Client 9 in the court papers filed last week. Client 9 arranged to meet with "Kristen," a prostitute who charged $1,000 an hour, on February 13 in a Washington hotel and paid $4,300 for services rendered and as a down payment for future engagements, according to the court documents.

Among the charges brought against the four defendants last week was transporting women across state lines for prostitution purposes. It was not clear if a similar charge might be brought against Spitzer if it were proven he arranged for "Kristen" to travel from New York to Washington to have sex with him.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta and Robert Campbell, and Joan Gralla in Albany; editing by Frances Kerry)

    NY Republicans threaten to impeach Spitzer, NYT, 11.3.2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1062947520080311







Mr. Spitzer’s ‘Private Matter’


March 11, 2008
The New York Times

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer could not have been more wrong in his brief public appearance after the world learned that he was suspected of patronizing a prostitution ring. He did not just betray his family in a private matter. He betrayed the public, and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected to office.

With his ashen-faced wife at his side, the governor apologized and said his behavior “violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong.” He was right about his violations, but he was, sadly, wrong when he asserted that politics is only about “big ideas” and not individuals. His short, arrogant statement simply was not enough, not from the Sheriff of Wall Street, not from the self-appointed Mr. Clean who went to Albany promising a new and better day.

It is likely that every aspect of Mr. Spitzer’s other life as Client 9 for the Emperor’s Club V.I.P. — as he has been identified by law enforcement officials — every text message and other secretive communication will be made public. Any politician would have a full-time job just dealing with such revelations. There have been elected officials, over the years, who have survived scandals of this sort. But for Mr. Spitzer, who runs a large and complex state, the burden is especially heavy to show that he has not lost the credibility to push for change, a sound budget and good government, as he promised so confidently a year ago.

While few clients of prostitutes face criminal charges, law-enforcement affidavits raise at least the possibility of criminal charges based on transporting a woman across state lines for prostitution. Mr. Spitzer’s own record of prosecuting such cases gives him scant breathing room. As state attorney general, he prosecuted prostitution rings with enthusiasm — pointing out that they are often involved in human trafficking, drug trafficking and money laundering. In 2004 on Staten Island, Mr. Spitzer was vehement in his outrage over 16 people arrested in a high-end prostitution ring.

A further tragedy here, beyond the personal one of the Spitzer family and the damage he has done to the reform cause, is that Mr. Spitzer’s targets are now relishing their tormentor’s torment. Those on Wall Street who fumed at having to make their world fairer for ordinary shareholders can now chortle with satisfaction in their private enclaves. For New York Republicans, who have blocked some of the most important reforms in Albany, it is hard to imagine the private glee — especially at a moment when they are fighting desperately to hold their majority in the State Senate.

Sadly, this was not the first time that Mr. Spitzer has been caught up in his own arrogance. For all his promise as governor, Mr. Spitzer’s first year was unnecessarily rocky and full of the kinds of mistakes that come as much from hubris as from being new on the job. After succeeding with a few reforms, the governor’s ill-fated attempts to smear his Republican opponent lost him months of progress. Only recently had he seemed to be tempering his abrasive style.

Mr. Spitzer did not seem to understand on Monday what he owed the public — a strong argument for why he should be trusted again. The longer he hesitates, it becomes a harder case to make.

    Mr. Spitzer’s ‘Private Matter’, NYT, 11.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/11/opinion/11tue1.html?ref=opinion






Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring


March 10, 2008
The New York Times


ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Before speaking, Mr. Spitzer stood with his arm around his wife; the two nodded and then strode forward together to face more than 100 reporters. Both had glassy, tear-filled eyes, but they did not cry.

As he went to leave, three reporters called out, "Are you resigning? Are you resigning?", and Mr. Spitzer charged out of the room, slamming the door.

The governor learned that he had been implicated in the prostitution inquiry when a federal official contacted his staff Friday, according to the person briefed on the case.

The governor informed his top aides Sunday night and this morning of his involvement. He canceled his public events today and scheduled the announcement for this afternoon after inquiries from The Times. The governor’s aides appeared shaken before he spoke, and one of them began to weep as they waited for him to make his statement at his Manhattan office.

The Republican state party and a leading Republican legislator called for the governor to step down. James Tedisco, a Republican Assemblyman from Schenectady who has clashed loudly and publicly with Mr. Spitzer, called on the governor to step down if the allegations are true. “The governor who was going to bring ethics back to New York State, if he was involved insomething like this,” Mr. Tedisco said, “he’s got to leave. I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

As questions swirled about the Governor’s political future, a swarm of reporters gathered outside the office of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who by law would become governor if Mr. Spitzer resigns. But his staffers provided no information.

The man described as Client 9 in the affidavit arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, Emperors Club VIP, on the night of Feb. 13. Mr. Spitzer traveled to Washington that evening, according to a person told of his travel arrangements.

The affidavit says that Client 9 met with the woman in hotel room 871 but does not identify the hotel. Mr. Spitzer stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Feb. 13, according to a source who was told of his travel arrangements. Room 871 at the Mayflower Hotel that evening was registered under the name George Fox.

The law enforcement official said that several people running the prostitution ring knew Mr. Spitzer by the name of George Fox, though a few of the prostitutes came to realize he was the governor of New York.

Mr. Fox is a friend and donor to Mr. Spitzer. Asked in a telephone interview Monday whether he accompanied Mr. Spitzer to Washington on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, Mr. Fox responded: "Why would you think that? I did not.”

Told that the Room 871 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel was registered in Mr. Fox’s name but with Mr. Spitzer’s Fifth Avenue address, Mr. Fox said, "That is the first I have heard of it. Until I speak to the governor further, I have no comment."

Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, which are generally seen as state crimes. But the Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution. The four defendants charged in the case unsealed last week were all charged with that crime, along with several others.

Mr. Spitzer had a difficult first year in office, rocked by a mix of scandal and legislative setbacks. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Spitzer seemed to have rebounded, with his Democratic party poised to perhaps gain control of the state Senate for the first time in four decades.

Though his signature issue was pursuing Wall Street misdeeds, as attorney general Mr. Spitzer also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

Albany for months has been roiled by bitter fighting and accusations of dirty tricks. The Albany County district attorney is set to issue in the coming days the results of his investigation into Mr. Spitzer’s first scandal, his aides’ involvement in an effort to tarnish Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, the state’s top Republican.

On the second floor of the capitol, aides and staffers to Mr. Spitzer knew something was wrong Monday morning, as Mr. Spitzer’s schedule began to change and planned meetings and appearances were canceled. But Mr. Paterson, the lieutenant governor who would succeed Mr. Spitzer in the event of a resignation, only learned of the allegations at midday, from an aide to the governor. The rest of the executive chamber was formally informed at a 6 P.M. general staff meeting, said one official who was present, where Richard Baum, the governor’s top aide, made no mention of a resignation and urged his colleagues to keep their heads down and continue as best they could with the day-to-day work of state government.

Under the state constitution, should Mr. Spitzer resign, Mr. Paterson, the lieutenant governor would serve the remainder of the Governor’s term.

Mr. Paterson’s current office would remain unfilled until the 2010 election, as the constitution makes no provision for filling a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. Under those circumstances, Joseph L. Bruno, is the Republican majority leader and temporary president of the state senate, would "perform all the duties of the lieutenant-governor" until a new one is elected in 2010.

Those duties include acting as governor when the nominal office-holder is out of the state. Moreover, should Mr. Spitzer resign and if Mr. Paterson were unwilling or unable to take his place, Mr. Bruno would become acting governor—a possibility that would hold special irony, given the vicious and ongoing battles between Mr. Bruno and Mr. Spitzer over the last year.

    Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring, NYT, 10.3.2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/nyregion/10cnd-spitzer.html?em&ex=1205380800&en=252bf166fa539bc3&ei=5087%0A






Pennsylvania governor unveils anti-recession plan


Mon Feb 4, 2008
6:05pm EST
By Jon Hurdle


PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on Monday proposed a $2.3 billion spending plan, including tax rebates, to spur consumer spending and bolster job creation in a move to protect the state from any national recession.

Previewing measures in the 2008/09 budget to be announced on Tuesday, the Democratic governor said that although revenues so far this year are stable, the state needs to guard against a broad-based economic downturn.

"There are storm clouds in the national economic forecast and we need to continue working together now to ensure residents and businesses can weather any storm," he said in a press release.

Rendell said he wants to provide tax rebates of up to $400 per household to some 475,000 low-income families at a cost of $130 million to offset rising energy prices.

The rebates are expected to be spent on consumer goods, stimulating the economy as consumer confidence falters. The money, to be paid within eight weeks of legislative approval, would come from the state's Rainy Day fund and would be repaid at the end of the current fiscal year.

Rendell proposed spending more than $700 million in the next three years to repair bridges and dams, expand rail freight and aviation facilities, and improve flood defenses.

The package also would increase tax credits for job creation to $3,000 per job from $1,000 currently.

In addition, the plan calls for an extra $750 million for community and economic development projects; enactment of an $850 million strategy to promote energy efficiency; and implementation of a $1 billion plan to build new health-research facilities.

Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Republican lawmakers, said the focus of the budget should be on controlling spending and ensuring that taxpayers get value for money.

"Because of the possibility of recession, it's more important than ever to cut back spending," Miskin said.

Pennsylvania spends more than $20 billion a year on education and yet some 60 percent of eighth graders can't read, write or do math at grade level, he said. "We need to put the value back into the tax dollar."

Rendell is scheduled to deliver his budget address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly at 11:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

Pennsylvania governor unveils anti-recession plan, R, 4.2.2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0461692620080204




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