“To borrow from the great author Charles Dickens, the opening day of the 2009 legislative session could easily be described as the best of times, and as the worst of times.
“It was the best of times as Governor Paterson delivered his first State of the State Message to the Legislature and as Democrats became the majority in the State Senate for the first time in more than four decades. And it was the worst of times in that we must all be mindful that our State is facing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and that many hard decisions must be made in the days, weeks and months to come.
“With that said, I am confident that we will go forward to overcome these daunting fiscal challenges through shared sacrifice and a determination to build a better future for all New Yorkers. I am heartened by Governor Paterson’s emphasis on balancing our budget while expanding health insurance coverage for young people and working families; helping more students afford college; reforming and improving our job creation and economic development policies; and initiating innovative energy efficiency and clean renewable energy programs.
“There isn’t any question that we have tough times ahead. But by working cooperatively with the State Assembly, the Governor and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both houses, I am hopeful that New York State will ultimately emerge, as Dickens also wrote, from the ‘winter of despair,’ into the ‘spring of hope’ as we confront these tremendous economic challenges together.”