Governor Cuomo visits Daemen College
By Steven Zapel
On Friday, February 4, Daemen College was host to several important guests, headlined by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Governor Cuomo gave a riveting speech detailing his purposed plan to fix New York’s budget deficit, in the Wick Center social room, to a crowd of about 450 people.
Gov. Cuomo began by stressing the importance of “de-politicizing” state government in times like these. He said “it’s not about the political parties; it’s about the people of the State of New York.” Cuomo called for a change to the tradition of politicians voting party ideologies, instead of what actually benefits their constituents. He asked for state representatives to overcome the pressures of “special interests groups” and support his budget plan.
Governor Cuomo proposed a different type of budget, one that centers on increasing the value of New York and not the amount of money spent by state government. The emphasis of his budget plan is on maximizing the results from the money that is spent, and not over spending for minimal results. He said that New York State government “spends too much money and taxes its citizens way too much.”
He stated how New York’s tax burden was 66 percent higher than the national average, which ranks worst among all States. In particularly property tax in New York is 96 percent above average. Governor Cuomo said that this leads to people leaving New York, and he wants to make New York a desired place for people to live and move to.
The newly-elected governor stated his three goals while in office: clean up Albany and make State government work; balance the budget with fiscal discipline and no new taxes; and get the State economy going, creating more jobs here in New York.
Gov. Cuomo pointed out how New York ranks number one in spending for education but only 34th in results. As well as number one in Medicaid spending but only 24th in results, and number one in spending for economic development while ranking 50th among states in results. To address these issues, Gov. Cuomo created a “redesign team for state spending,” which worked together to create a new budget proposal in order to fix these problems.
His budget will address and correct the faults centered on three main areas: Medicaid, education, and state operations (agencies). The governor’s plan does not just state a desired decrease in spending within these areas but rather provides feasible suggestions as to how these cut-backs in spending can be achieved. His suggestions include: temporary wage freezes for school district superintendants, teachers paying the same amount as state employees for their health benefits, prison consolidation and reform to the current juvenile correction facilities, and as a last resort about 9,800 layoffs of government employees.
Gov. Cuomo said “the state is at a crossroads. One road leads to recovery and the other leads to ruin,” and “now is the time for change.” He believes the road to recovery involves rebuilding the economy and to grow our way out of it, by bringing businesses back to New York and by growing businesses already in the state.
Gov. Cuomo said electing him was not the answer in itself, “it’s not about me it’s about we.” He said “the governor’s strength comes when the people of the state stand with him.” His message was one of letting the people’s voice be heard and that the citizens of this state need to express their voice to their representative in order to take the power back from the permanent government at the state capitol. “Politicians who do not listen to the people’s voice are not politicians for long,” he said.
Gov. Cuomo finished by saying he has worked in all 50 states and has seen that “nobody can compete with what we have in New York.” He believes that through the expression of people’s voices and making them heard by state politicians “we are going to make this state greater than it’s ever been.”