Andrew Cuomo announces for governor

Andrew Cuomo officially announced that he's running for governor Saturday with a video posted on his website:

From the video message:

Our state government in Albany is disreputable and discredited.
New York State is upside down and backwards; high taxes and low performance. The New York State government was at one time a national model. Now, unfortunately, it's a national disgrace. Sometimes, the corruption in Albany could even make Boss Tweed blush.
In my opinion, politicians of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, share the blame. Both are guilty of playing partisan politics and bringing New York State to the brink.
Because I believe so deeply in the mission of government, I am so troubled by its failure. The Declaration of Independence says when government fails, the people have the right to replace it. Well, New York State government has failed and the people have the right, indeed the people have the the people have the obligation, to act.

Later on in the message, he says: "We want to know how the candidates for the State legislature are going to vote on key issues and we want to know now. Let's make this a litmus test for change."

Here's a transcript of the video. The text is also embedded after the jump.

Cuomo's campaign has posted an issues agenda. Among the main points:

Government reform
He calls for stronger ethics laws, nonpartisan redistricting, and a constitutional convention.

Fiscal restructuring
Cuomo's calling for a cap on state spending and a freeze on state worker salaries. He's also pushing for a cap on local property taxes.

"Rightsizing" the state bureaucracy
The state government is described as "too big, ineffective and expensive." Cuomo's plan calls for reducing the number of state agencies, authorities and commissions by 20 percent. This plan was laid out in more detail in a NYT story posted Friday night -- the Times reported that Al Gore may be involved in the effort.

The plan calls for a $3000 tax credit for employers who hire unemployed workers. It also calls for a reformulation of the state's economic development initiatives.

"New York Leads"
Among a handful of social, good government and environmental policies, Cuomo calls for "marriage equality" and attracting "the best and the brightest to government."


The transcript of the video message:

Andrew Cuomo the Plan Transcript


God, it seems like he's been running for Governor since before he was born. Strange to think that only NOW it's official.

Interesting, populist message coming from Cuomo about agency reform. I think we all realize there are inefficiencies and would all love to benefit from sorting them out. But the NYT article clearly spells out why this is difficult, if you read it:

"But even state agencies, which are controlled by the governor’s office, have become Rube Goldberg-like bureaucracies. Mr. Cuomo’s report notes that the Health Department has had at least 87 administrative subgroups imposed upon it by legislation over the years, including 46 councils, 17 boards, 6 institutes, 6 committees, 5 facilities, 2 task forces, 2 offices, 2 advisory panels and a work group."

"Citing another example of bureaucracy run amok, the report notes that under state law, the executive branch has been limited to 20 departments. As a result, the Executive Department has become a catchall for a wide swath of bureaucracy, including the Budget Division, the Civil Defense Commission and the Empire State Plaza Art Commission. In all, 75 agencies are stuffed into the department."

So, which is it, do we need restricted or expanded departmental capabilities within agencies? Seems like there should be some middle ground, but anyone who has spent any time in state government can tell you that the fact is, intentions are usually good but few people only do the work in their title. Bluntly, s**t's gotta get done and people have to do it whether or not you create a department or prevent someone from creating a department. But hey, Cuomo can create some commissions and task forces to figure out how many unnecessary commissions and task forces we have, go for it man.

Freezing salaries. Okay, let's not allow pay to track with cost of living. I guess that's a pretty easy way to achieve that 20% workforce reduction (let's call a spade a club here, a 20% reduction of departments really means a 20% reduction in workers); when people can't feed their kids or pay the rent, they'll have to leave and take private sector jobs. Folks in the private sector, be ready for competition from people who know social engineering and office politics very, very well, and are used to working below average wage. You have no idea what competition is like, yet.

That "dearth of young, skilled employees in state government . . . in the midst of a 'retirement tsunami'" is just maybe a result of the hiring freezes and attrition efforts that have been going on for years. Freezing salary and eliminating 20% of workers is a solution, if by "a solution" you mean "adding insult to injury, and also more injury too."

Am I the only one that sees a striking resemblance between Mr. Cuomo and Shooter McGavin?

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