2012 new york state of the state address - andrew cuomo
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DESCRIPTIONThe prepared remarks of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, most of which (not all of which) were delivered in an address on Jan. 4, 2012.
- 1. Building a New NY...with you2012 State of the State AddressGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo
2. Building a New New York...with you 3. ANNUAL MESSAGE STATE OF NEW YORK January 4, 2012To the Members of the Legislatureof the State of New York:One year ago almost to the day I delivered my firstState of the State address as your Governor.I said last year that New York was at a crossroads.New Yorkers were hurting. The economy was causinghardship and anxiety. People needed help. But our Stategovernment was mired in scandal, ineffective, and rife withpartisanship.One year ago, we were divided as a state: Upstate andDownstate, millionaires and the middle class, gay andstraight, Democrats and Republicans.Our state had a deficit. And not just a fiscal deficit, but evenworse, a trust deficit, a performance deficit, and an integritydeficit.New Yorkers deserved better and New Yorkers knew it.For me, the Capitol building itself was a symbol of thedeterioration, decline, and dysfunction of State government.It had been under renovation for eleven years, and it wasscheduled to take an additional four. By the time they weredone with the repairs, we would have had to start all overagain!The situation was grim. Our people had problems, and our 1 4. government did not have the capacity or the credibility tohelp.New Yorkers had a choice to make. We could remaindysfunctional and divided, or we could come together,reestablish our government, and rebuild our great state. Wemade the right choice.We chose to begin to change the culture of Albany.To put the people first.To rebuild the trust.To restore our deteriorating Capitol.And in just one year, working together, we made greatprogress. The 234th Legislative Session was one of themost productive for our state government in modern politicalhistory.We began the year by closing a $10 billion deficit with nogimmicks, and we did it on time. The budget includedhistoric reforms to redesign and consolidate stategovernment, eliminate automatic spending increases thatcost New Yorkers billions of dollars, and cap spendingincreases for education and Medicaid.After 20 years of failure, we enacted the states first-everproperty tax cap. New Yorks property taxes are among thehighest in the nation, but for more than 15 years, bothhouses of the Legislature and three governors failed to bringthese skyrocketing costs under control. The tax cap that weenacted limits increases in property taxes to 2 percent, orthe rate of inflation whichever is less. Schools and localgovernments can go beyond the cap, but only if 60 percent,respectively, of the voters or local legislative body approve.2 5. We eliminated over 3,800 prison beds and 370 juvenilefacility beds because we finally accepted that prisons arenot an economic development program. In addition to theclosure of Tryon Boys Residential Center in January 2011,we shut four residential juvenile facilities and downsizedanother four. We have worked to put a greater emphasis onprevention and on community-based alternatives toincarceration.We eliminated the MTA payroll tax for almost 290,000 smallbusinesses, 81 percent of small businesses in the MTAregion. In addition, we cut the payroll tax by as much astwo-thirds for more than 6,000 businesses with payrollsbetween $1.25 and $1.75 million. We also eliminated theMTA payroll tax for over 410,000 self-employed taxpayerswho make less than $50,000 a year. The total savings fromthe MTA tax cuts will be $250 million. The state willcompensate the MTA for revenue lost as a result of the taxcut.We passed the toughest rent regulation laws in 30 years.The new laws will protect more than one million NewYorkers from skyrocketing rent by, among other things,raising the deregulation rent threshold for the first time since1993 and raising the income threshold for the first time since1997. It will also help prevent landlords from manipulatingthe system to move apartments out of rent regulation.We executed a new economic development policy with ourNew York Open for Business campaign and by establishingRegional Economic Development Councils across the state.We passed an affordable energy policy with Recharge NY,on-bill energy efficiency financing, and, after a decade oftrying, an Article X electric generation siting law. Theseprograms will lower energy costs, promote energy efficiency,and reduce pollution. 3 6. We passed ethics reforms to restore trust in government.The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 contains some ofthe most comprehensive ethics improvements enacted instate government. Among other things, it requires stateofficials to disclose outside clients and customers, requires adetailed disclosure of officials income and assets, creates adatabase of all individuals and firms that represent clientsbefore state agencies, requires all lobbyists and clients oflobbyists to disclose all business relationships with publicofficials, and broadens the definition of lobbying. And itstrips public officials convicted of a felony in relation to theiroffice from receiving their taxpayer-funded pension.We attacked chronic, high unemployment amongdisadvantaged inner-city youth with an innovative jobsprogram that will provide immediate tax credits tobusinesses that hire our youth and will also provide trainingto make sure these youths are ready for employment.We provided desperately needed flood relief to storm-ravaged homeowners, farmers, and small business owners.We restored New Yorks reputation as the progressivecapital of the nation. We passed landmark achievements insocial justice and economic justice.For decades, millions of New Yorkers had been treated assecond-class citizens by their own government. We endedthat injustice. We stopped the discrimination. We madehistory. We led the nation. We passed marriage equality forALL New Yorkers and we did it together. With this historicvictory, New York is the largest state in the nation to grantsame-sex couples the freedom to marry.But we didnt stop there. We also fought for tax fairness.For decades, millions of New Yorkers were burdened withan unfair tax code. Whether a person made $20,000 or $20million, they paid the same rate. It was just wrong 4 7. because a flat tax is not a fair tax. Last month, we changedthat, adding new brackets for the middle class and for high-earners. Our principle is simple: the more you make, thehigher rate you pay. And we stimulated our economy bycutting taxes for New Yorkers earning $40,000 to $300,000.Today, the middle class is paying the lowest rate in 58years.Without a doubt, 2011 was a successful year for our state. Itwas also a challenging year. And the most heroic acts oflast year did not happen in Albany they happened incommunities across the state.Last summer, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Leedevastated communities all over the state communitiesthat could least afford it. We are still reeling from thedamage today. But in our darkest hours, New York shinedthe brightest, and the storm clouds had a silver lining: theway New Yorkers responded.People all across the state came together in a beautifuldisplay of community. And our first responders wereselfless. They were professional. And they werecourageous. They are what public service is all about.We have accomplished much, there is no doubt. We havebeen through much, there is no doubt. But there is also nodoubt that we have only just begun. We have establishedthe capacity and credibility to govern. We have reverseddecades of decline. Now is the time to get to work building a New New York.In New York, we may have big problems, but we confrontthem with big solutions. Today, I am laying out a three-partplan: 1. The next phase in our economic blueprint for growth5 8. 2. A reimagined government that can make our plans areality 3. And a New York vision for a progressive future THE ECONOMIC BLUEPRINTOur challenge for 2012 is this: How does government spurjob creation in a down economy while limiting spending andmaintaining fiscal discipline? The answer: Creative public-private partnerships that leverage state resources togenerate billions of dollars in economic growth.We Will Build the Largest Convention Center in theNationLets begin by building on our economic strength.New York is an international destination. Tourism is atrecord numbers. Tourists spent $50 billion in New York Statein 2010. We know that if we build it, they will come because New York is the place to be. But we must stayahead of the competition.Convention centers are important generators of economicactivity. New York needs a larger, state-of-the-art venue tobe competitive for the largest tradeshows and conventions.The Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattans WestSide is obsolete and not large enough to be a top tiercompetitor in todays marketplace. The Javits Center is, infact, 12th in the nation in size behind the conventioncenters in Anaheim and Atlanta.This is not a new problem. We have talked about it for6 9. years. But today is different, because today I propose we dosomething about it. I propose that we build the largestconvention center in the nation. 3.8 million square feet larger than McCormick Place in Chicago, which is currentlythe largest in the United States. This will bring to New Yorkthe largest events, driving demand for hotel rooms andrestaurant meals and creating tax revenues and jobs, jobs,jobs.We are pursuing a joint venture with the GentingOrganization, a gaming development company, to completethis vision at the Aqueduct Racetrack venue. It is a $4 billionprivate investment that will generate tens of thousands ofjobs and economic activity that will ripple throughout thestate. In addition to the new convention space, up to 3,000hotel rooms will be developed. We will make New York the#1 convention site in the nation.We Will Master Plan the Javits Convention Center SiteWe can then master plan the 18-acre Jacob JavitsConvention Center site as a mixed-use facility to revita