Contact: Mike Fraser, (518) 455-3751
Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo embarked on a self-congratulatory statewide tour in lieu of an earnest State of the State Address. At present, the Legislature has yet to be invited to a budget presentation. It's hard to fathom why the governor would skip these important symbols of collaboration, communication and good-faith, as they are the start of each year's vital dialogue between the branches of government.
It is disturbing how much farther apart these branches get each passing year of his administration. He's moved beyond opaque and secretive to downright authoritative. A government that works for the people must work together. His not-so-subtle disrespect of the Legislature sends a loud and clear signal that collaboration will be elusive. This is not good for New Yorkers.
POLICY-BY-PRESS RELEASE LEAVES QUESTIONS
During his six-part pep rally, the governor was quick to lay out costly initiatives, but short on details for how to pay for them. Specifics about how to reduce the crushing burden placed on municipalities, eliminate unnecessary mandates and regulations and sustain job growth were few and far between. And, it was disheartening that he did not make a commitment to provide direct care workers with the funding needed to provide them a competitive wage.
His proposal to give free college tuition to families making less than $125,000 must answer the question "Who is going to pay for it?" A $200 million trail across the state sounds interesting, is it really addressing the needs of New Yorkers? The deadline for the Governor to submit his Executive Budget to the Legislature is Tuesday, January 17. But as he crafts this year's spending plan, what changes will be made in the way compromised and corrupted state economic development programs operate?
Sure, constitutionally the governor may have fulfilled his requirements, but by skirting the traditional State of the State and Budget Presentation addresses, and also avoiding places like Rochester, the North Country and the Southern Tier, he sidestepped basic accountability for his proposals.
WE MUST BUILD ON COMMON GROUND
The governor's support for ride-sharing services, providing schools with adequate funding and fighting the state's opioid epidemic are among some of the proposals the Assembly Minority Conference has long supported and warrant serious consideration. But, we must work together to deliver them for the people of New York, and that would be much easier if he would commit to working with the Legislature as an equal branch of government.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.