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Cuomo’s State of the State message though impressive a word of warning; NY Senate under new management; and the Democrats – a house divided.

January 6, 2011


Though Cuomo is sounding impressive, a word of warning.
 GovCuomoGovernor Cuomo delivered his first State of the State message Wed, Jan 5th. He began by saying “We must turn this crisis into an opportunity to fundamentally remake the state into the progressive capital of the nation.”  Then he laid out this plan using themes that sounded more conservative than progressive. Though the conservative themes certainly sound good, the contradictions between that and a progressive agenda, which in modern politcs is nothing more than a code word for a socialist agaenda, is disturbing. What we do not need is triangulations and fundamental change rhetoric as if Cuomo is now our very own Obama. That being said, the first issue the Governor must confront is the fiscal crisis – a $10 billion budget gap. Although the Governor has not yet released his proposed budget (it’s technically not due for a few weeks yet), he did lay out some specific ways of dealing with this problem. Cuomo called it the “Emergency Plan.” The plan includes three basic proposals:

  • Imposing a one-year salary freeze on most state workers
  • Insisting on no new taxes or borrowing
  • Instituting a state spending cap limiting spending growth to the rate of inflation

We do appreciate these measure as a step in the right direction, although we would take it a step further: Salary freezes on all state workers top to bottom which including public education; No new taxes or borrowing or spending; Instituting a spending cap is fine under normal circumstances, however with current spending levels having increased 14 billion over the last 2 years, first spending needs to be rolled back dramatically, then capped! Finally, despite the welcome fiscally-conservative messaging, the Governor had to ruin it by throwing a few bones to his liberal base. Cuomo included a call for the passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation which we both oppose and in no way see as a priority, and the written copy of his speech speaks of his support for a radical abortion bill known as the Reproductive Health Act, which we vehemently oppose as well.

Overall we were fairly impressed by the Governor’s fiscal and reform-minded proposals, but we have heard this kind of speech before.  Let’s hope this Governor actually implements what he says he will (at least when it comes to finances and reform).

NYS Senate Under New Management – Thank God for that!
Long Island Republican Senator Dean Skelos was sworn in as New York State Senate President Pro Tem and Senate Majority Leader. His election ends a two year control of the State Senate by mainly liberal New York City Democrats.Skelos acknowledged that it is going to be a challenging year, but vowed to meet the challenge, pledging to reform and change the state,while not raising taxes.  The Majority Leader noted, “It’s absolutely necessary because the people of the state can no longer afford the cost of state government.”Majority Leader Skelos also vowed to restore decorum, dignity and respect to the Senate, start sessions on time, and to bring bills to the floor whether they pass or fail.

In the past, Senate Majority Leaders have only allowed bills they personally support and believe will pass to actually make it to a full Senate vote. These are good goals. It is clear that the New York State Senate is under new management. Let’s pray for their success.

And on the Democrat side of the Senate – A Divided House – Good for them.

TheNewAmigos Four New York State Senate Democrats broke away from their party’s conference to form an independent Democratic Conference last week, saying that they could not “in good conscience support the current leaders of the chamber’s Democrats – specifically Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn).
The group is comprised of Senators Jeff Klein (Westchester), Diane Savino (Staten Island), David Valesky (Syracuse) and newly elected David Carucci (Rockland County). All indicated disgust with Sampson’s leadership and his inability move forward any kind of legislative agenda.
Senator Valesky cited the “unacceptable” revelations that the former majority conference exceeded its budget by at least $7 million. Whether this is all a power play, politics as usual, or an honest attempt to reform Albany remains to be seen. What is clear is that Senate Democrats are divided and that is good news for Senate Republicans.



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