States are experiencing the full force of the most dramatic economic downturn since the Great Depression. In 2010, governors have come up with novel ways to present their budget managing strategies they believe are required for survival in this environment—from elaborate analogy to elementary comparisons with neighboring states. In general, though, governors paint a dark fiscal picture for residents; most push no new taxes and lots of credits to spur job growth. It is not surprising, then, that these state leaders advocate spending down reserves and advancing performance and efficiency measures along with continued state retrenchment back to core functions. This research examines the governors’ 2010 state of the state addresses to understand how they are coping in the current economy and how their collective attention has changed over the last few years.1 Findings indicate contradictions. For example, while the governors are much more likely than last year to talk about performance, accountability and even ethics reform, they are much less likely than in 2009 to bring up transparency.