There will be all kinds of coverage of Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address everywhere over the next few days. But for right now, here's a quick, scannable overview of this afternoon's speech -- enough to get you through a conversation today -- you'll find it after the jump.
Spoilers: "innovation hot spots," upstate New York, casinos, equality, and gun control.
Before Andrew Cuomo took to the podium, the firefighters recently killed in Webster and their families were honored. Cuomo noted that the past year has been difficult, with Sandy and the shootings in Webster. "We saw New York at its worst, but we also saw New York at its best." He also recognized the "unparalleled heroism" of first responders and the work of the National Guard.
Then it was on to pats on the back for shifting the state to "entrepreneurial government," ending of legislative gridlock, and all sorts of bridge metaphors.
"We have much, much more to do. ... We can accomplish anything we want if we work together."
Calls the regional economic councils are a "tremendous success." (The REDCs are the competition in which the Capital Region recently finished last for funding.)
Cuomo laments lack of venture capital investment in New York. "We're not making the transference [of technology] to commercial application." (The briefing book notes that the UAlbany CNSE is a "success story" on this topic - p 27)
Proposed solution: "innovation hot spots." From the briefing book (p 29):
Winning Innovation Hot Spots will be tax-free zones, where start-ups and other businesses will not be subject to business, real property, and sales taxes. To help keep entrepreneurs and companies in New York as they grow, any company that emerges from the incubator will be considered part of tax-free Innovation Hot Spots under which neither these companies nor their full-time employees will pay designated taxes for the first five years of the companies' existence.
+ A state venture capital fund to invest in 10 companies.
+ An "Innovation NY Network" -- collaboration between venture capitalists and higher education.
Cuomo proposes reform of workers' compenation and unemployment insurance programs, which says will reduce the cost for business while increasing benefits to workers.
"The economy of tomorrow is the clean tech economy." Proposes a $1 billion "green bank" to match private investment and spur clean tech development in the state. (p 40)
+ Extend incentives for installing solar capacity
+ Spend $50 a statewide network of 3,000 charging stations around the state for electric cars.
+ Create a cabinet level "energy czar." The admin has picked Richard Kauffman, who's been working in the federal Department of Energy.
"Our workforce training is still from a different era." Cuomo says the state needs to train people for the "jobs of today," and it needs a program to connect these trained people with jobs.
He notes that jobs are coming back from overseas, and employers need high-skilled labor. "That's our opportunity, but we have to be ready for it." Says 210,000 unfilled jobs in state because employers can't find workers with the right skills. (p 52)
Propose program for training people with skillsets for specific jobs. And then reward colleges for helping students graduate on time and find a placement.
"There have been decades of decline in upstate New York. The job growth [there] is sad and troubling."
Cuomo proposes a coordinated marketing program for upstate products. Create duty-free stores across the state for NY-grown and produced products.
Also: Market regional attractions so counties work together. And focus marketing campaigns around special events to re-introduce people to the "beauty and assets" of upstate New York.
Cuomo specifically mentioned a new event: the "Adirondack Whitewater Challenge" for rafting in Adirondacks. That would include a "politician" division.
Cuomo also wants to increase tourism upstate thorugh "destination casinos." He argues the state is already in the casino business. "We've backed into the casino business through the racino business."
He says a challenge is to get tourism traffic from NYC to upstate. "And I believe that casinos in upstate New York could be a great magnet..."
Phase 1: three casinos upstate -- none in NYC, so that people won't just stay there. Revenue split: 90 percent education / 10 for "local tax relief." Local support casino should be a factor in siting casinos. And he would leave it to the state gaming commission to pick sites.
"When it comes to education, I say two words: more and better."
"We need more learning, my friends, if we are serious about improving education."
Three options: longer days, longer years, combination of first two. His proposal is for every school district to be able to opt-in. If they do, the state will pay 100 percent of additional cost.
Also: more early education. "We should provide real pre-k for all our children." Only 67 percent of school districts currently offer pre-k. He also wants to expand pre-k to a ful five-hours.
"We need better teachers. ... We need to incentive the best to become teachers."
Proposal: a "bar exam for teachers." And "master" teachers would get $15k per year for four years to become mentors for other teachers.
As for the schools: "A school in a poor district is not just a school. ... We want to create community schools in distressed districts." These schools would become centers for health care, nutrition, family clinics, and other social services.
"The Progressive Capital of the nation"
"We must remain the progressive capital of the nation."
Cuomo says the current minimum wage -- $14,616 -- is "unlivable," and cites annual cost of living expenses. "My friends, it does not add up."
Proposal: raise minimum wage to $8.75.
"It's the right thing to do, it's the fair thing to do ... we should have done it last year."
Stop and frisk
"It's not fair, it's not right, it must end and it must end now." Notes that these policies disproportionately affect minority young adults.
Cuomo says there's a "disconnect" on marijuana. Proposes de-criminalizzing possession of 15 g of pot in public view.
"It's not the more the convictions the better."
Propose "blind" or "double blind" administration photo arrays for witnesses trying to ID suspects. Also: a proposed requirement that interrogations be video recorded in investigations of serious crimes.
"New York has a terrible affordable housing need..." Proposal for $1 billion to [from the briefing book] "preserve and create more than 14,000 quality affordable housing units statewide by reallocating and making better use of existing funds."
Cuomo says NYS is the "equality capital of the nation."
"We passed marriage equality, let's make history again and pass a women's equality act in the state of New York." Would have 10 point agenda:
+ Pay equity
+ Stopping sexual harassment
+ End employment, credit, and lending discrimination
+ Strengthen human trafficking laws
+ End family status discrimination
+ Stop source of income discrimination for housing (Section 8)
+ Stop housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence
+ Stop pregnancy discrimination in the workplace
+ Strengthen order of protection laws in domestic violence cases
+ Enact Reproductive Health Act, [from briefing book] "which will protect the fundamental right of reproductive freedom and woman's right to make private health care decisions." Cuomo emphasized this point, declaring "Because it's her body, it's her choice" three times.
"It's not a man's world in New York, not anymore."
Call for stronger gun control legisation.
"We respect hunters and sportsmen, this is not about taking away people's guns ... it's about ending the unnecessary risk of high capacity assault rifles."
Proposal: enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation.
Also: background checks for private sales of guns, a proposal that allow mental health professionals to report a person if that person "is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others" -- the person's gun license would be suspended and law enforcement would be allowed to remove the person's guns.
Later he would say that the proposals are "common sense."
"No one hunts with an assault rifle. no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer ... end the madness now! ... Save lives! Set an example for the nation! ... You show them how we lead!"
"For government to be effective, we must be trusted."
Propsal: campaign financed reform. Disclose New York plan: "nation's most aggressive disclosure law" -- disclose all political contributions over $500 within 48 hours electronically for everyone -- PACS, committees, and so on. Lower contribution limits. "The limits are just too high."
Early voting and ballot reform
From the briefing book: "New York should create an early voting system that is at least one week long, and includes the weekend before a scheduled Election Day."
The briefing book also calls for changing regulations to "make the ballots clearer to voters."
Financially troubled municipalities
Proposal: create "Financial Restructuring Assistance Program" for municipalities.
"Climate change is real. It's denial to say that each of these situations is a once in the lifetime. There's a 100-year flood every two years."
Proposals: lower the regional greenhouse emissions cap, increase local renewable power sources.
Propose program to rebuild homes along coastal areas: "build it back once and build it back right."
Also a proposed buyout program for homeowners who don't want to rebuild and want to move to higher ground. "There are some places where people may choose not build back."
Cuomo notes that parts of Manhattan are 15 stories deep. "We must harden the city subway system so flooding doesn't occur." Protect airports, fuel delivery system. Require "strategically located" gas stations to have back up power, and also have state strategic fuel reserve. Redesign power system.
Also: Uniform training for emergency responders around the state. A state stockpile of supplies for next crisis. Create a statewide volunteer corps, organized by skillset. "We needed electricians desperately on Long Island, and we couldn't find them."
Cuomo also took a moment to rail against Congress and its slowness in appropriating money for Sandy recovery, saying the $9 billion appropriated so far out of the $60 billion requested is "too little, too late."
He argues that disaster recovery funding should be the role of the federal government. "This is an unprecedented situation in modern times when the federal government has not been responsive in the face of a disaster."
"That is not acceptable."
"What is the state of the state? The answer is, my friend: we have work to do."
Cuomo calls his proposals the most ambitious agenda of his three state of the states so far.
"We have daunting challenges, not doubt, but they also provide exciting opportunities..."
"The state of New York State is that New York State is rising!"
Noticeably absent from Cuomo's speech -- and the briefing book: any mention of fracking. But more than a thousand people -- including Pete Seeger -- showed up at the Empire State Plaza concourse before the speech to rally against fracking the state (photos). [AP/WNYT] [WMHT] [Rob Gierthy Flickr]
And of course, the hard part for a lot of stuff is getting it through the legislature and figuring out to pay for it. Many of the specific details will come along with the propose state budget.
Republican response from Dean Skelos
+ Live blog from State of Politics.
screengrabs: Cuomo admin / Livestream
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