GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio released a statement this morning that seeks to tie AG Andrew Coumo to the 125-day late state budget, lumping him in with the so-called “Albany gang” that “failed to save our state from financial ruin!”

(For the record: The exclamation point is theirs, not mine).

“Andrew Cuomo’s Albany gang failed to save our state from financial ruin and continue to push it to the brink,” Lazio said.

“People and jobs are leaving this state in droves and Andrew Cuomo continues to turn a tin ear. Under my Administration, a budget that is 125 days late and increases taxes by $4 billion is unacceptable.”

“In the last two years, Albany has imposed over $14 billion in new taxes and job killing fees on hard working New Yorkers. We need to reduce the burden of government in this state that feeds the special interest groups and that starts by not letting Andrew Cuomo’s status quo approach win in November.”

A few thoughts on this…

While Cuomo has zero responsibility as attorney general for the budget, he did weigh in throughout this process – both from afar during press conferences with reporters, often in NYC or upstate while lawmakers were deliberating in Albany, and in private chats with the legislative leaders and the governor.

During a trip upstate yesterday (on official AG business, not campaigning), Cuomo said in no uncertain terms that this was “not a session to be proud of.”

He also said the Legislature missed an opportunity to reach a deal on a property tax cap – one of the signature issues of his gubernatorial campaign platform – after the Assembly departed without passing the measure, leaving the Senate to approve a one-house bill.

Lazio has been trying throughout his campaign to cast himself as an outsider and Cuomo as an insider whose ties to Albany are too strong to allow him to clean up state government.

While Cuomo has been trying to have it both ways to some degree – railing against Albany and the special interests that hold sway over it while also accepting reams of special interest cash – Lazio doesn’t really seem to be making much headway in trying to convince people the AG won’t be able to crack heads when – and if – he gets elected.

UPDATE: State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs responds: “Rick Lazio is so desperate he’d blame Andrew Cuomo for the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. At some point credibility matters, and Lazio has none.”