State Of The State Live Blog (Take II – Cuomo)
2:51 p.m. Takeaway: We’re here as New Yorkers first. To the Legislature (yelling now): “Stand up and write a new page in the history book of NYS government!” And he’s out. Overall time: 48 minutes.
2:50 p.m. Pep talk time.
“We were just the best and we were the model for the nation. That’s the history and the legacy of New York. This has been an aberration. The dysfunction of Albany.”
“…This is not the true story of the New York State Legislature. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we do. It’s not why we’re here. The New York State Legislature is the best legislature, historically, in the nation…That is who we are, and that’s who we can be again. When I hear your leaders speaking about cooperation…I am so excited, because the people of this state desperately, desperately need it.”
2:47 p.m. Personal point to “my colleagues in the Legislature.” Talks about his life in Washington, D.C. and the New Yorker cartoon about the West Coast being New Jersey. Says being in Clinton’s cabinet was a “fascinating experience” working all across the country.
Talks about surrogating for Clinton in Kansas where people can’t pronounce his name – Andrew “Cu-co-mo.” “A learning experience for me.” Everyone thought New York was the capital of the world…I’ve heard him deliver this part of the speech before. It’s like a pep talk – bring back the Empire State.
2:46: “We can make Jan. 5, 2011 the day that we seized the opportunity and the state of New York strikes back.” (That slogan appears on a license plate on a screen).
2:45 p.m. One line for gay marriage. We should do it. That’s all. Applause. Moves on quick.
2:44 p.m. Big applause for this: Juvenile justice reform. Rails against prisons as an economic development tool: “If people need jobs, let’s give them jobs. Don’t put other people in prison just to give some people jobs.”
2:41 p.m. He’s really ripping through this speech now. He’s up to Green Jobs, which, according to the highlights, is somewhere close to the end.
2:40 p.m. Better protection of consumers…This is the merging of the Banking and Insurance departments and the Consumer Protection Board into a single entity that would be in charge of regulating Wall Street. It would be called the “Department of Financial Regulation.”
2:38 p.m. ETHICS REFORM!! On the screen: Headlines of recent Albany scandal stories. “Many of the cases in the headlines, I was involved in. Sometimes, even in Albany, there is a black and white issue. And this issue is black and white, there is no gray…It is time to pass ethics reform. And it is time to pass ethics reform now!”
(There’s some finger pointing going on there for emphasis, but it’s not directed at anyone in particular).
This won’t be “watered down,” Cuomo says. And he also says “we’re going to have” changes – not “I want us to,” or “I’m proposing.” Translation: Lawmakers…YOU WILL DO THIS!
2:36 p.m. Consolidation bonus for governments.
2:34 p.m. Competitions for school districts that can find efficiencies and improve student performance to “incentivize performance and change behavior through the funding mechanism.” Basically, it sounds like schools that manage to find savings and boost student test scores are going to be rewarded with additional state aid.
2:33 p.m. Larry Schwartz, who was former Gov. David Paterson’s secretary and has been kept on by the Cuomo administration, will head a Mandate Relief Task Force. Also needs to report to the governor by March 1.
2:29 p.m. Medicaid redesign team….another team! It will report back prior to the April 1 budget deadline. Participants will include GNYHA’s Ken Raske and George Gresham from 1199 and HANYS Dan Sisto and also some unnamed state lawmakers. It’s going to be headed up by Jason Helgerson, who did the same thing in Wisconsin.
2:27 p.m. HA! Humor. Likens the budget process to ships passing in the night. A screen pops up of three ships – one bigger than the others.
Up pops pictures, in full Naval regalia, of “Captain Dean Skelos” and” Commander Sheldon Silver.”
And then there’s Cuomo, on the biggest ship…”OH! And there I am!” And now there are missiles “special interest groups” torpedoing Cuomo’s battleship.
2:25 p.m. Cuomo is now well into the too much government portion of his speech. He proposes SAGE – the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, like a Berger Commission. Submits report by March 1. Legislature has 30 days to accept and change it or it passes, as is.
Wage freeze, spending cap. Close the $10 billion gap with no borrowing.
2:22 p.m. Here’s the anti-tax portion of the speech. “Put it simply the people of this state simply cannot afford to pay any more taxes. Period.”
Special guest alert: Geraldine Sullivan from Monroe County. The governor introduces her. She’s sitting on the stage. She’s 81-years young, says the gov. Her home value has gone down and her taxes have gone up. She couldn’t afford her house so she went back to work as a lunch monitor.
“Help is on the way! We will pass a property tax cap, Geraldine once and for all!” She blows him a kiss. He asks that she gets a round of applause.
And now she’s doing the peace sign waving thing to the crowd.
2:20 p.m. Regional economic cage match! He’s going to pit one region against another. Whoever comes up with the best economic development idea gets funding. And when Buffalo loses…look out world.
2:17 p.m. Four guiding principles…he went through those very fast, though…missed it. Now here we have a slide of what looks like Lake George and the seal of the state superimposed on it. And now he’s explaining the meaning of the seal…two ships put on it to symbolize commerce…Huh? Oh, I get it. This is the way he gets into talking about economic development.
Ten economic regional councils all across the state, chaired by LG Duffy. (First specific he gets to, and he’s been talking for over 10 minutes already).
2:13 p.m. This is a multi-year problem. “A fundamental economic realignment for the state of New York.” He’s still in the spending too much, getting not enough back part of the speech…hasn’t gotten to the what to do about it part yet.
And there’s too much government that’s “all too often responsive to the special interests than to the people of the state of New York.” As a result, people are “voting with their feet” and leaving the state. What’s the answer: “A new approach…we need it now! We must use this moment to transform our government.”
Buzzword alert! “Performance, integrity and pride.” Need to “reinvent government…because the old way wasn’t working anyway.”
2:11 p.m. “Welcome New Yorkers to being here today because this is your government and no one is better suited to be here than you. Thank you all for coming.”
Time for an “honest analysis of the crisis that we face.”
Cuomo is NOT using a teleprompter. He’s using notes. And now he’s going through all the stats of just how bad it is here, focusing on upstate – a “true economic crisis.” And “pensions are exploding” – a 476 percent increase in costs that’s only getting worse.
“The state of New York spends too much money. It is that blunt and it is that simple.”
2:08 p.m. Cuomo: State’s at a crossroads, can take two different paths….oooh! Here comes the power point. He loves power point. He had one for the government consolidation pitch while at the AG’s office, too. “Turn this crisis to the opportunity.”
“This is a time when we must transform our government to once again become the progressive capital of our nation and to seize the moment of opportunity before us.” What we do now will determine the course of this state for decades.
“This convening itself is a metaphor for change…says that change is possible in Albany, believe it or not. And I say: Amen! Because we need change in Albany.”
2:05 p.m. Gov. Andrew Cuomo takes the stage. Powder blue tie. Dark suit: “Well, good afternoon New York. (anemic response). “Oh, it is a better afternoon than that 2,200 people are here to talk about their government in a way they never have before.”
Shout-out for LG Bob Duffy, who gets a standing ovation. (He’s wearing a power red tie).
Shout-out to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (“colleague and elected comptroller”), AG Eric Schneiderman, Majority Leader Dean Skelos (gets the title this time, he didn’t during the inauguration), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the minority leaders and the judges (“an honor to be with you”).
“Special thank-you to the high school students behind me…the state we are talking about preparing today is the state we will leave them. We hope we will do a good job.” They’re from all 62 counties.
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