Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature formed a successful partnership in the 2011 Legislative Session enacting the 2 percent property tax cap, a balanced, on-time state budget, and state income tax reform among other achievements. The question I was asked most often in recent weeks was what would Gov. Cuomo do this year to top 2011?
The governor’s 2012 State of the State Address set forth an ambitious blueprint that will top 2011, if it is enacted.
First, the governor has correctly focused on what must be the top priority for everyone, jobs and the economy. The governor has outlined an economic blueprint for substantial investment in the state’s economy that will yield the kind of good paying jobs that will return New York to its role as the Empire State. Most notable are the governor’s announcements for a $200 million second round of economic development awards as well as the New York Works Fund to leverage capital investment in the state’s infrastructure. On the East End, the renewal of and the reconstruction of Montauk Highway are two key projects that could benefit from these programs.
The governor also outlined key initiatives to “re-imagine” government. The governor has pledged to balance the 2012 State Budget with no new taxes or fees.
As a former local government official, the governor’s call for mandate relief is overdue. We must enact pension reform in 2012 as well as mandate relief this session to cut the costs of school districts and local governments. Further, the governor’s call for an education commission to work in key areas such as management efficiency is also welcome. However, such a commission must act quickly to provide recommendations to the Legislature. We must make government most cost effective and reduce the burden of state and local taxes.
The governor has also called for the creation of a tax reform and fairness commission to close loopholes and improve the business climate. This will provide the perfect forum to consider changes to existing law in the Barker case that discourage vacation homeownership.
Finally, I fully support the governor’s call for Campaign Finance Reform by instituting a system of public financing. The corrupting force of a political system awash in special interest money must be reversed.
I look forward to working with the governor and my legislative colleagues for another successful legislative session.