In his delivery of the State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo managed to strike a balance which was both optimistic and realistic. With a new spirit of cooperation in Albany, unlike the dysfunction we have been witnessing in Washington, we were able to make state government work for the people once again, and made 2011 the most productive year in modern state history.
While we achieved many of our goals, including a balanced and on-time state budget, enacting a property tax cap, adopting ethics reform, cutting taxes for middle class taxpayers, repealing the MTA payroll tax on small businesses, and working to create new private sector jobs, the Governor acknowledged much more work needs to be done.
In order to achieve the results Governor Cuomo envisions for all New Yorkers, we need to continue to work together and that message was echoed by both the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly.
In 2012, we must build on this momentum and do even more.
It starts with early passage of a fiscally responsible state budget that once again closes a deficit by cutting spending and without any additional taxes or fees.
We must deliver significant mandate relief, including pension reform, that results in real tax savings for local taxpayers and ensures that local governments and school districts stay under the tax cap.
Most importantly, we have to continue in our efforts to make New York more business-friendly to attract and retain new private sector jobs because growth is the long term solution to the State’s fiscal recovery.
While jobs remain our top priority, the Governor has not overlooked a vitally important aspect of our future growth – our next generation. Students of today are our workforce of tomorrow. While we await the specifics, the Governor’s proposal to establish an Education Reform Commission may be the impetus for positive reform.
As the Senate Codes Chairman, I am also looking forward to partnering with this Governor and my colleagues in the Assembly to make this State a safer place to live and work. By expanding the DNA databank to include people who are convicted of felonies and misdemeanors, we will give prosecutors and law enforcement an essential tool in seeking justice for victims of crimes.
I am encouraged by the Governor’s remarks, the direction he’s leading us, and his vision for the State. I look forward to being part of the transformation process that puts people in jobs, lowers our taxes and restores people’s faith in a government that is working for them.