WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Office (Edited). June 23, 2013:
Friday marked the end of the 2013 Legislative Session, and we have again worked together to transform our state and show that government can confront – and solve – New York’s toughest problems.
In our first year, the state closed a $10 billion budget deficit with no new taxes, cut taxes for the middle-class, established a property tax cap to hold the line on skyrocketing tax bills, created a new economic development paradigm with the Regional Economic Development Councils and reclaimed New York’s title as a progressive leader for the nation when we passed the Marriage Equality Act.
The momentum continued into the second year with the passage of legislation imposing a comprehensive teacher evaluation system that now serves as a model system for the nation, sweeping pension reform that saves state and local governments more than $80 billion, and a coordinated statewide plan to rebuild our infrastructure and create thousands of jobs, including the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
This year, Governor Cuomo took the state’s focus on job creation, particularly upstate, to the next level. This session produced one of the most aggressive economic development agendas in our state’s history, including:
- START-UP NY: Groundbreaking jobs program designed to jump start the upstate economy through tax-free communities linked to State University of New York (SUNY) and private college campuses.
- High-tech Job Programs: Innovative “Hot Spot” incubator program and the Venture Capital Fund will help to better commercialize our state’s ideas and innovations and create businesses to transform the face of job creation in New York.
- Upstate NY Jobs From Gaming: If passed by voters in November, world-class destination gaming resorts will drive economic growth by attracting tourists, generating economic activity for local businesses, and creating thousands of good-paying jobs.
- Reducing Taxes on Businesses and Families: Nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over the next three years and relief for middle class families with a targeted tax credit of $350 per year for three years, beginning in 2014.
- Financial Assistance for Local Governments: Establishes a Financial Restructuring Board for local governments and reforms binding arbitration to help eligible distressed cities and local governments manage their finances and provide public services in a more cost-effective manner.
Again breaking with Albany’s long tradition of late budgets, Governor Cuomo secured passage of this year’s budget days before the April 1 deadline. It was the earliest budget since 1983, and it marked the first time since 1984 that New York has had three consecutive, on-time budgets.
Under the Governor’s leadership, this session that added to the growing reputation of New York State as the progressive capital of the nation, including:
- One of the most difficult and politically challenging issues facing the nation – reducing gun violence – with the NY SAFE Act, the most comprehensive gun control law in the nation.
- A long-overdue increase to the minimum wage to align with the standard of living in this state, from $7.25 to $9 per hour over three years.
- Nationally-recognized education reform continuing our work to create a world-class education system that prepares our next generation for the future.
- $1 billion affordable housing program to preserve and create 14,300 affordable housing units, which will also create jobs and stabilize distressed areas.
The Governor proposed a tough anti-corruption and reform agenda in Albany and gave the legislature a simple choice: Pass the legislation or face an investigative commission dedicated to rooting out corruption among public officials in Albany. This commission would determine the key weaknesses in existing law and propose reforms to address those weaknesses in such areas as elections, campaign finance, and the abuse of public office or public funds for personal gain.
New York expects to receive approximately $30 billion in federal aid for recovery, rebuilding and mitigation. This will enable New York to build back smarter and stronger, and ensure that the state is better prepared for the future.