Cuomo Calls for Smaller Government, 20 Percent Fewer Agencies

Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce a plan to reduce the size of New York's state government in his State of the State address, according to a copy of the speech circulated to reporters.

The governor will announce the formation of the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission, which, according to his office, will "reduce the number of agencies by 20 percent."

The commission will submit their recommendations to the governor by May 1. Governor Cuomo says he'll then submit to lawmakers those very recommendations to be implemented within 30 days, unless the legislature actively shoots it down.

Other recommendations included in the speech by Governor Cuomo today include:

  • A one-year salary freeze "on the vast majority of public employees whose contracts are up for re-negotiation as of April 1."

  • Imposing a state spending cap limiting spending to the rate of inflation.

  • Creating a new Medicaid Redesign Team, which will explore cost-saving measures. The team will be led by New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson, who was appointed to the job today. The group will submit their recommendations by March 1.

  • A review of unfunded mandates burdening local municipalities.

  • Providing $100,000 for local governments that "right-size." The money will go to "cover all or part of the costs of merger and dissolutions studies." The governor is calling it the "Citizen Re-Organization Empowerment Grants."

  • Giving money to school districts based on performance, not just need.

  • Publicly financing campaigns, lowering contribution limits, and enacting an independent redistricting operation. The governor says he will also seek to strip the pension of any official found to have broken the law.