The state of the state speech of Governor Cuomo can be characterized as a mournful depiction of a state in decline-unless drastic changes are made in the way New York conducts its business. As the NY Times reports: " Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivered his first address to the Legislature on Wednesday, laying out a number of proposals intended to curb state spending and shrink government. The recommendations would put a more centrist stamp on the Democratic Party’s leadership in the state, but also set up a clash with liberal Democrats who control the State Assembly."
The speech was similar to the one Hugh Carey gave during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, where he told New Yorkers, "Now the times of plenty, the days of wine and roses, are over.” Cuomo laid out his plan to get control over the fiscal management of NY-and his blueprint was also similar to the one that former Governor Pataki laid out after defeating Cuomo's father in 1994: "Mr. Cuomo proposed to freeze the salaries of the vast majority of public employees for one year, to limit new spending to no higher than the rate of inflation, to limit school property tax increases and to “hold the line” on taxes in general. “New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Our young people will not stay, businesses will not come, this has to change. Put it simply, the people of this state simply cannot afford to pay more taxes, period.”
This is, to say the least, a bracing message-and one that will not go unchallenged by the same forces that have promoted the current growth of a government that is too big to be affordable. And Cuomo was specific in laying out some of his reform ideas. As the NY Post reports: "Gov. Cuomo outlined in his first State of the State address today an unprecedented plan for closing a $10 billion budget gap, tasking a series of panels with tackling the state's most pressing issues. The unusual strategy, which appeared designed to break the traditional political fight that accompanies each budget proposal, by tasking teams of experts, reform advocates and interest groups with meeting cost-cutting targets."
But it was more than a austerity plan-and had a strong re-inventing government flavor: "Proposals would include a capping annual state spending, promising more education aid to school districts that cut cost and providing local government with grants to consolidate services. "This is not about budget trimming or cutting, it's about looking at how we can fix government and make it work for the people," Cuomo said, according to prepared remarks. "Together, we must take the significant steps needed to reinvent, reorganize and redesign government to restore credibility and to rebuild our economy by creating jobs across this state."
"Mr. Cuomo promised what he called “a fundamental realignment of this state." “We need radical reform, we need a new approach, we need a new perspective,” he said, “and we need it now.”