2008_09_paterson1.jpgGovernor David Paterson yesterday continued to deal with what has been the defining issue of his administration thus far, making tough budget cuts in the face of a growing state deficit. The governor vetoed 49 pieces of legislation yesterday, including a bill that would have imposed a one-year moratorium on cuts to the medical benefits of retired public employees and one that would have made it easier for students to receive more state tuition assistance if their parents’ income shrinks because they are called to active military service, become ill or disabled or because of other unforeseen circumstances.

While unions and lobbyists were quick to speak out against the governor for the vetoes, he responded, "We cannot continue making excuses for why the state is unwilling to limit its expenses at a time when hard-working taxpayers are forced to do the same thing.”

Governor Paterson also told state agencies yesterday to draft zero-growth budgets to fend off a $5.4 billion deficit projected for the coming fiscal year.

Paterson then ended his day on a lighter note, making his first ever appearance as a guest on The Colbert Report. At one point, Colbert commented that neither of them could see race--Paterson because he is legally blind, Colbert because he is so incredibly evolved. But Paterson, a known jokester, held his own with the host. When Colbert later asked the governor to pardon the host's unpaid parking tickets, Paterson shot back, "I don't see traffic."

Watch the entire interview after the jump.