Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gov. Cuomo Begins Term

Governor Andrew Cuomo has wasted no time since assuming office on New Years Day. The new Governor, who beat Republican candidate Carl Paladino in November’s general election already signed several executive orders, announced appointments and nominations, and on Wednesday, delivered his “State of the State” address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

“New York faces a deficit, a deficit that we talk about all day long: the budget deficit, the budget deficit,” Cuomo said in his innaugural address on Januray 1. “But it’s actually worse. The state faces a budget deficit and a competence deficit and an integrity deficit and a trust deficit. And those are the obstacles we really face.”

Cuomo said he would bring the needed in Albany to balance both the budget and restore the people’s faith. He started the process by cutting his own salary.

The Governor’s salary is $179,000 by law, and it has not changed since 1999. However, Cuomo announced on Monday that he would reduce his salary by 5 percent and return the $8,950 to the state. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and senior members of Cuomo’s staff have also agreed to a 5 percent reduction.

“Change starts at the top and we will lead by example,” Cuomo said. “Families and business owners in every corner of the state have learned to do more with less in order to live within their means and government must do the same.” Cuomo signed two executive orders, one
removing barriers around the State Capitol and reopening the Hall of Governors to the public. The hall, where many of the executive chamber offices are located, has been closed to the public since 1995.

The second executive order requires ethics training for Executive Chamber staff and top
state officials. The order includes agency commissioners and their staffs.

At the “State of the State” address on Wednesday, Cuomo promised more sweeping changes.

“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 said. “This is not about budget trimming or cutting, it’s about looking at how we can fix government and make it work for the people. Together, we must take the significant steps needed to reinvent, reorganize and redesign government to restore credibility and to rebuild our economy by creating jobs all across this state.”

Cuomo outlined his plans to close the $10 billion deficit by instituting a salary freeze and a state spending cap. He also proposed revisions to the recently enacted Excelsior Tax Credit Program to produce better results and give New Yorkers property tax relief.

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