The ball had dropped only hours earlier in Times Square, the fireworks had barely cooled, and many revelers were still sleeping off a night of festivities when incoming Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo delivered a sobering message to New Yorkers: This is no time for celebration.
"This is an austere setting. And it should be, in my opinion," Cuomo told the small crowd of constituents gathered for his January 1 inaugural address. "I don't think a grand ceremony or a lavish ceremony would be appropriate."
New York is faced with a nearly $10 billion dollar deficit and an anemic job market. "The state faces a budget deficit and a competence deficit and an integrity deficit and a trust deficit. And those are all the obstacles we really face," Cuomo said. "My gray hairs are multiplying just thinking about what we have to do."
Cuomo wasn't the only governor to ring in a new year and a new administration by delivering a dose of reality with his inaugural address.
Incoming Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) somberly added congressional reapportionment to Michigan's list of woes, calculating that the state has lost a total of five seats in Congress over the past forty years. "To put that in perspective, in 2012 we would have lost more representation than over 20 states have for their entire delegation," he said.
"I assume the duties of governor understanding this is a challenging time," New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said, naming education and employment shortfalls among New Mexico's challenges. "We cannot just hang on. We cannot just endure misfortune and wait for our luck to change."
A sole moment of levity came Saturday when a grad student hijacked the New York governor's Twitter account after discovering a broken link on his website. "We're in a hiring freeze," the fake Andrew Cuomo tweeted. "I am looking for someone to write my jokes - [former Governor] Patterson is on the top of the list right now."
New governors in twenty-three other states will take office - and take on the challenge of governing in a tough economy - this year.