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Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Crime, Economy

New York City, NY – In the first debate of the governor's race, Governor Pataki came under fire from Democratic challenger H. Carl McCall for "squandering" the fruits of the nation's economic boom.

Independence Party candidate B. Thomas Golisano added that the Republican governor was taking credit for things he didn't have much to do with.

After Pataki claimed "the streets are the safest they've ever been," Golisano noted crime rates had fallen nationwide in recent years. The billionaire businessman is making his third run for governor as the candidate of the Independence Party.

Pataki objected, noting he had, among other things, ended parole and work release for violent felons to help keep career criminals in prison longer.

McCall said "our economy is in disrepair," and he blamed Pataki for not preparing better to deal with that.

Pataki quickly countered that he would be able to deal with the economic problems of next year without raising any taxes and that the state still had sizable budget reserves. The governor said he would cut the size of state government.

The three candidates met Sunday in New York City for the debate that was televised statewide.