Spotlighting the state’s fiscal crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed New Yorkers in his first big policy speech Wednesday, hammering themes of job creation, government reform and reenergizing Empire State pride.
“We must transform the state of New York from a government of dysfunction, gridlock and corruption to a government of performance, integrity and pride,” Cuomo told lawmakers and the public, as he mixed the inspirational with folksy humor during his 47-minute State of the State address in Albany.
Observers said Cuomo showed his ability to bring legislators together when he allowed Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to make remarks before his speech.
Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University, said Cuomo’s use of a Power Point presentation during his address was an “effective way that he can communicate.”
At one point, Cuomo referred to the state budget process as “two ships passing in the night” and showed an illustration of Skelos and Silver as battleship commanders trying to blast Cuomo with special interests. Silver didn’t seem amused.
Cuomo attempted to lay the groundwork for burnishing New York’s sullied reputation. His proposals include:
• Revamping the Medicaid system and education funding in an effort to cut the budget.
• Passing ethics reform in Albany, getting rid of “pay to play” and allowing for public financing of campaigns.
• Closing upstate juvenile justice facilities that waste taxpayer money.
• Consolidating departments, such as Insurance, Banking and Consumer Protection, to save money.
• Passing gay marriage legislation this year.