Last week, Governor Cuomo delivered his fourth State of the State address. In it, he followed the typical State of the State game-plan for incumbent governors: he delivered his priorities for the 2014 legislative session, spending much of the time describing past accomplishments and bolstering an image for the election campaign.
This week, Governor Cuomo unveils his plans for the 2014 legislative session. The State of the State allows the executive a unique opportunity to command public attention and to mobilize support for his proposals. Typically, a State of the State address in the first year of any Administration focuses on the need for changes and reforms. As the governor over time comes to represent the status quo, his or her rhetoric changes and the State of the State becomes a vehicle to extol the achievements of the Administration and to build on the image the governor is trying to project.
The beginning of 2014 heralds the full implementation of the federal health care reform law – the Affordable Care Act. For most New Yorkers, the new law will have no noticeable impact. For the 2 plus million New Yorkers who lack health insurance or who pay for it themselves, the new law offers dramatic changes.
Last week, a gubernatorial commission released its $2 billion tax cut plan for New York State. The commission’s plan provides for a 2-year property tax freeze, a cut in the tax rate on corporations to 6.5 percent and a reduction in tax on manufacturers to 2.5 percent.
Last week the national buzz was about the latest crisis in the rollout of Obamacare. As part of the President’s advocacy of his health care plan, the promise was made that Americans could keep their health insurance plan if they wanted it.
This Election Day voters will have an opportunity to amend the New York State constitution. When you get to the polling place, in addition to voting for candidates, you will have the opportunity to vote on six proposed changes to the state constitution. If you want to get the text of the actual amendments, you can access the language by going to the state Board of Elections website at www.elections.ny.gov.
Good government alarm bells are ringing in Albany. Numerous news reports have accused the governor’s aides of interfering in the activities of the state commission investigating corruption in government.
The big news of the past week has been the shutdown of the federal government. The rationale for the gridlock has been well reported: The House Republican Congressional leadership has decided to block funding of the federal government as its leverage to defund, cripple or delay implementation of the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.
A referendum on the November ballot to consider approving seven casinos in New York is raising some eyebrows among good-government advocates for wording that promises to lower taxes, provide more money for schools and create more jobs.
One political scientist says the language is pushing voters for a "yes" vote sought by Albany politicians.
The unusually optimistic theme makes no mention that the claims are disputed by some researchers and doesn't note the decline of some casinos in the Northeast or the rise in problem gambling that can shatter families and increase crime.