Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Days before being sworn into office, Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo said that his top priority was restoring New Yorkers' faith in their government. "We have to get people believing in government again," Cuomo said. "At the end of the day, the governor is going to have to perform."
Now that Governor Cuomo has taken office and given his first State of the State address, it's time to track what he does with his mandate. Here's a guide to the campaign promises Andrew Cuomo made as part of his "New NY Agenda." As he enacts these proposals, abandons them, or changes direction altogether, we'll be keeping score.
For now, here's how the scorecard looks after the State of the State address. An S means that Cuomo reiterated the promise in his speech on January 5th. When he acts on the promise (or doesn't), we'll update the status.
|Establish an independent State ethics commission to investigate and punish violations of law by members of both the executive and legislative branches.
|Require elected representatives to disclose the sources and clients that produce any and all income they receive.||S|
|Lower campaign contribution limits.||S|
|Create an independent redistricting commission charged with producing the new district maps for the state after each census.||S|
|Create a board of trustees to manage the State pension fund.|
|Freeze salary increases of State employees.||S|
|Freeze taxes and veto any increase in personal or corporate income taxes.|
|Impose a State spending cap limiting growth to the rate of inflation.||S|
|Impose a property tax cap set at the lower of the inflation rate or two percent, whichever is lower.||S|
|Use any budget surpluses for property tax relief.||S|
|Bring the state’s “Rainy Day” fund back up to 5 percent of State Operating Funds spending.|
|Add a sixth tier to the pension system for new state employees.|
|Propose a “sunset” bill requiring all unnecessary unfunded mandates be re-evaluated within a two-year period and automatically eliminated unless the mandate is affirmatively renewed.|
|Establish a Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (“SAGE”) to conduct a comprehensive review of every aspect of State Government and reduce the number of agencies, authorities, and commissions by 20 percent.||S|
|Push for passage of a law empowering the Governor to eliminate, transfer and consolidate State agencies without further legislative approval.|
|Automatically award grants of up to $100,000 to communities which successfully petition to reorganize, mergo or dissolve their local government under the Government Reorganization and Citizens Empowerment Act.||S|
|Ensure that 50 percent of the state aid given to merging or dissolving municipalities go toward tax relief for people in the affected communities.||S|
|Consolidate the regulatory functions of the Banking Department and the Insurance Department into a single regulatory agency.||S|
|Create a new two-year “Jobs Now” tax credit. Any business that increases its employment by hiring a New York resident who has been unemployed for at least sixty days and keeps that person employed in the job for at least one year will receive a refundable credit equal to the employer portion of payroll tax of that worker up to a maximum credit of $3,000 per worker.|
|Make businesses deemed strategically important for New York will eligible for a rebate of up to 80 percent of the amount of NY state personal income taxes withheld on the additional jobs they create in the state for up to 10 years.|
|Use a Strategic Jobs Incentive program to provide tax credits to qualifying businesses for every job created in the state.|
|Consolidate all economic development programs into a single office that reports to the Governor.|
|Create regional economic councils to develop strategic cluster plans to be implemented by the State.||S|
|Create a New York version of California’s successful “CalCAP” program, which insures financial institutions against certain loan defaults with the aim of encouraging lending to small businesses.|
|Create a New York State version of New York City’s Business Express project, an online one-stop shop for required permits, documentation, and everything else a person needs to start a business.||S|
|Create a State Infrastructure Bank offering a range of loans and credit options to help finance eligible projects and enabling the State to undertake projects that would otherwise go unfunded or experience substantial delay.|
|Amend the existing R&D Qualified Emerging Technology Company training tax credits to facilitate allowing small companies to recover up to $4,000 for employing interns during each of the companies’ first few years.|
|Enact law allowing same-sex couples to get married.||S|
|Create a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate students that agree to make a State service commitment.|
|Enact microstamping of guns, requiring all new semiautomatic handguns to be equipped with a microscopic identifying marking that is also transferred to each cartridge case when it is fired.|