The Great Oz has spoken! Well, we definitely aren’t in Kansas anymore, but New York’s new governor, Andrew Cuomo delivered his first State of the State Address last week. He’s been governor for a very short period, but his message is clear: New York has got to change and it is certainly possible.

It was refreshing to hear the excitement in Gov. Cuomo’s voice followed by much applause from the audience. We all know we are in bad shape many members of the legislature have been drunk with spending money we don’t have.  The first step in the recovery is admitting that you have a problem……and they have.

Many points in the governor’s plan and agenda align and fall into Unshackle’s 2011 goals:

  • Reduce State Spending
  • Reduce Mandates
  • Reduce Taxes, Fees and Assessments
  • Reduce Borrowing

While everyone may have different ways of reaching these and other goals, the fact still remains; we have got to get our state back.

Some of the governor’s key points in his “road to transformation” included:

  • Transforming government – ethical reform
  • People first, not special interests
  • Reduce Mandates – Creation of Mandate Relief Redesign Team to review state-imposed unfunded mandates and to look for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify ineffective and outdated mandates, and to determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses.
  • Reduce State Spending – Freezing wages, cut spending in the three most expensive areas: education, Medicaid and state/local funding, reduce the number of state agencies, authorities and commissions by 20%
  • Reducing Taxes, Fees and Assessments – Tax Cap of 2%, hold the line on taxes, lower taxes in the future
  • Reducing Borrowing – Emergency Financial Plan closing the $10B gap in the 2011-2012 budget without borrowing  or raising taxes

At one point, New York State was the place to be, the place to do business and a model for the rest of the nation. We can get there…it won’t happen overnight, but we will. Gov. Cuomo closed with a theme of the “Empire State Strikes Back!” Let’s focus on the task at hand, holding our officials accountable and taking the necessary steps to make this state a better place to live and do business.

If you missed the State of the State address, you can take a look at the video/transcript here.

Get started by sending your legislator a message in support of a 2% property tax cap!