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Forget Pep Talks; Governors Warn of Tough Times

By Jemes R. Hagerty And Ben Casselman | WSJ | Jan. 3, 2010

New governors in 26 U.S. states are starting to take office with somber warnings to constituents of more tough times amid revenue shortfalls and a weak job market.

With sagging economies, soaring budget deficits and the loss of federal stimulus money, incoming governors face the deepest fiscal crisis in decades and expectations that they will remain true to campaign pledges to slash spending and taxes.


"I don't think a grand ceremony ... would be appropriate," Andrew M. Cuomo said Saturday after being sworn in as New York's governor. The Democrat, whose father led New York two decades ago, promised to put a lid on property taxes and shrink the state's government.

He said budget troubles were only part of the problem in a state that also faced a "trust deficit." "Too often government responds to the whispers of lobbyists before the cries of the people," Mr. Cuomo said.

Michigan's new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, issued a call to residents during his inauguration speech: Stop infighting and believe the once-proud state can stage a successful turnaround. The former venture capitalist argued during the campaign that Michigan must cut taxes and trim spending.

In his address Saturday, Mr. Snyder implored Michigan's people to move beyond past woes, including high unemployment and home-foreclosure rates. "This election...was the point where we understood that the old ways don't work," Mr. Snyder said, adding that the state could build on assets such as its natural resources, universities, manufacturing base and people.

In New Mexico, Republican Susana Martinez pledged to create jobs, cut back on wasteful spending and crack down on patronage. "Government won't ask New Mexicans to do what government itself is not willing to do," said Ms. Martinez, the first Hispanic woman to serve as governor of a U.S. state. "We won't take more of your money from you or grow the deficit because we are not willing to make the same tough decisions you have had to make."

Fresh Starts

26 new governors are taking the reins following November's elections, in which Republicans picked up 11 statehouses for a total of 29 governorships.

Inaugurated Dec. 6:

  • Hawaii: Neil Abercrombie (D)

Jan. 1

  • Michigan: Rick Snyder (R)
  • N.M.: Susana Martinez (R)
  • N.Y. : Andrew Cuomo (D)

Jan. 3

  • California: Jerry Brown (D)
  • Minnesota: Mark Dayton (D)
  • Nevada: Brian Sandoval (R)
  • Wisconsin: Scott Walker (R)
  • Wyoming: Matt Mead (R)

Jan. 4

  • Florida: Rick Scott (R)
  • Rhode Island: Lincoln Chafee (I)

Jan. 5

  • Connecticut: Dan Malloy (D)
  • Maine: Paul LePage (R)

Jan. 6

  • Vermont: Peter Shumlin (D)

Jan. 8

  • S. Dakota: Dennis Daugaard (R)

Jan. 10

  • Georgia: Nathan Deal (R)
  • Kansas: Sam Brownback (R)
  • Ohio: John Kasich (R)
  • Oklahoma: Mary Fallin (R)
  • Oregon: John Kitzhaber (D)

Jan. 11

  • Colorado: John Hickenlooper (D)

Jan. 12

  • S. Carolina: Nikki Haley (R)

Jan. 14

  • Iowa: Terry Branstad (R)

Jan. 15

  • Tennessee: Bill Haslam (R)

Jan. 17

  • Alabama: Robert Bentley (R)

Jan. 18

  • Pennsylvania: Tom Corbett (R)


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U.S., Governor, Ecconomic Crisis, States

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