Governor Paterson hasn't winning any popularity contests in quite some time—maybe that's why he's played hardball yesterday, "stunning" people with his veto of the routine pension measure for police officers and firefighters that has been in place for almost thirty years. The plan allows newly hired employees to retire after 20 years at half salary.

The veto came as a surprise move after the plan easily passed through the Assembly and Senate with 136-6 and 58-0 votes respectively. It has been around as a supposedly "temporary" measure, but has gone through annually since 1981. Paterson said, "These are not routine times. The state and localities are hemorrhaging revenue at an alarming rate due to the recession and financial crisis."

Labor leaders were outraged by the veto, which they claim they received no advance notice on. Charles Morello, president of the state Professional Firefighters Association, told the News, "In 25 years I've never seen a governor be unfair like this and not confide and at least get your opinions and thoughts."

Paterson would like to see a serious discussion pension reforms, such as raising the minimum years of service or preventing employees from running up overtime during their final years of service. The governor said, "Police officers and firefighters have earned the state's gratitude, and they should be well-compensated upon retirement. But that does not mean we can continue the present, unaffordable pension system."

However, Mayor Bloomberg quickly praised the governor for demonstrating "his commitment to fiscal responsibility and the need for Albany to finally begin living within its means." (The city has argued the pension system may bring bankruptcy.) Just last week, Paterson was butting heads with State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli over what changes need to be made to the state pension plans.

As for those popularity contests, one wonders just how low Paterson can go. A new ranking from superstar number cruncher Nate Silver revealed Paterson to be the least popular governor in the land