So far, so good.
It appears the 2011-12 New York State Legislative session could end without the usual flurry of bad bills that elected officials typically try to jam through in the 11th hour. This session in Albany has clearly been devoid of the drama we’ve seen in recent years, and that’s a good thing for the taxpayers and job creators of this state.
How long that can continue is anyone’s guess, because frankly, there’s a lot more tough work to be done if New York is to be truly “Open for Business.”
In Gov. Cuomo’s first two years, he’s achieved some remarkable results: Legislative approval of a property tax cap, pension system reform, and two state budgets that lowered spending and held the line on debt. He merits an “A” in leadership for shepherding the Legislature toward resolution on these important, yet politically challenging issues.
But whether he keeps that grade through the end of his term will depend on his success in tackling several other essential reforms that we’d hoped to see movement on by now. Topping the list: Mandate relief for local government and improvements to New York’s stifling regulatory environment. The governor’s leadership is also needed to ensure that Unemployment Insurance is adequately funded so employers don’t keep getting hit with assessments. And he needs to push for full implementation of Workers’ Compensation reform to avoid another round of double-digit increases such as employers are currently experiencing.
As for the Legislature itself, I’m disappointed that the Assembly failed to vote on a repeal of the annual notification provision in the Wage Theft Protection Act. Our elected officials need to show an appetite for delving into the complex, politically riskier issues, something that was unlikely to happen in an election year.
It makes me worried that this mellow end of session is just a cover for plans to hold a special, post-election session, full of legislative mischief and meddling that in the end hurts our economy.