From remarks by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo at New York University on Oct. 16:

All of this {discussion of fiscal reform in budget-making} is on the assumption that how much you spend is the relevant test, and that's great if you're a permanent critic or an academic... .

In the world of the advocate, in the world of the critic, it is enough to say "the spending is too high" and make the whole virtue reduction in spending. But that is not the real world of our needs and proper governance. Spending is not bad; spending may be absolutely essential. And the spending we have done when I tell you it is not the highest in the nation that is not to say I believe we would commit a sin if it were.

Because what we spend on we need to spend on and maybe in some cases we should have spent more... .

If we argue about contracting expenditures, it's only because we must. It's only because in the real world, in the practical world, to keep ourselves intact, to give ourselves any strength at all, we have to be prudent. And we have to control. But don't make the mistake of thinking if I suggest to you that we have found a lot of devices for controlling spending it's because we've satisfied all our needs; it is not. It is our concession to the practicalities... .

You must balance the budget. That's the frustration of this place, that you're not just an advocate, that you have to deal in the real world. But understand, as we balance the budget, we have another and greater mission, and that is to use government to deal with the problems of people... .