In his second State of the State speech since taking office, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to straighten out the state’s fiscal problems while expanding job growth and strengthening education.
In front of hundreds of lawmakers, policy leaders and other New Yorkers, the governor delivered his vision for 2012 – a vision that seeks to spin stagnation into governmental action.
“New York State is on the way to coming back stronger than ever before,” the governor said during his speech from Albany on Wednesday, January 4. “By working together in a bipartisan manner and putting the people first, we have established the credibility to govern and to lead. Now we must build on what we have already accomplished to begin to undo decades of decline. We have big problems, but we are confronting them with big solutions. Now is the time to get to work, building a New New York together.”
Cuomo revealed his “Economic Blueprint for New York” and issued a challenge to the state and to himself: “Our challenge for 2012 is this: How does government spur job creation in a down economy while limiting spending and maintaining fiscal discipline? The answer is forging public-private partnerships that leverage state resources to generate billions of dollars in economic growth and create thousands of jobs.”
Some of the governor’s major points included:
– Building the largest convention center in the country at the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park
-Revamping the Jacob Javits site
-$1 billion economic development package for Buffalo
– A second round of Regional Economic Development awards
– Utilization of casino gaming
– New York Works Fund and task force to create private sector jobs and rebuild the state’s infrastructure.
– An “Energy Highway” system to power New York’s economic growth
– Invest in solar energy
Cuomo said that in order to tackle his agenda for 2012, the state government would have to be reimaged in a way that it performs better at a lower cost. To accomplish this, the governor proposed:
– Long term commitment to fiscal discipline by holding the line on spending and closing the remaining $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or fees.
-Mandate Relief, which will reform the pension system. The governor said he will ask the joint legislature and executive mandate relief council to hold public hearings.
– Transform public education by appointing a bipartisan education commission to work with the legislature to recommend reforms in key areas including teach accountability, student achievement and management efficiency.
-Redesigning New York’s Emergency Management System by calling for a statewide network of municipal and regional emergency responders.
Cuomo also lauded New York for its progressive history and said that history will be built upon with these initiatives:
– Foreclosure Prevention Assistance
– Tenant Protection Unit
– Continued commitment to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
– Additional SUNY Challenge Grants
– Increase participation in food stamp programs
– Create an all-crimes DNA database
– Establish a tax reform and fairness commission
– Implement campaign finance reform