January 9, 2018

Meanwhile Back in Albany (v15)

Nathaniel Brooks/NY Times
Picking up where we left off on the Sonofa Gov's 2018 State of the State, let's turn again to the litany of things Andrew Cuomo wants to accomplish this session.

Here's a few quick hits, some of which are likely going nowhere, until and even after details get fleshed out:
  • protecting union workers
  • same day registration, no-fault absentee ballots and early voting
  • closing the LLC loophole and implementing a 'true public financing system" 
  • social media disclosures on who ("or what") is paying for political advertising
  • cashless tolling at bridges, tunnels, and on the Thruway
  • expanding investment and acreage for to parks and tourism investments
  • airport modernization, investment in the Long Island Railroad, and maybe a tunnel or two
  • preserving CHP, Medicaid and our health insurance industry
  • expanding pre-K programs and free college tuition programs
  • finding creative ways to reduce property taxes (but not the unfunded mandates that drive them)
Some of the harder stuff?  Terrorism, for one.
...lone wolves are a new threat. It is getting worse not better. The Internet companies must search their hearts and minds to determine their obligation to public safety when they know who is visiting terrorist sites, and they know who is learning to kill Americans. That is there issue. In the meantime, our issue is to protect ourselves.
That means more police, better training, state of the art surveillance - and, restructuring Penn Station, which is particularly vulnerable - even if it means using eminent domain if private properties near the Station need to be included in the mix. Cuomo calls for Amtrak, the feds, and city officials to come together to make the necessary improvements. This might be tough with Trump in charge, especially since the feds just stepped back from a new NY/NJ tunnel plan.

Rethinking taxes, another hard one. Cuomo mentioned the federal government's "assault on New York" and the three ways we'll address it. First, challenge the new tax bill it in court - it's unconstitutional, it's double taxation, it violates states' rights and equal protection. Then, we'll develop a 'repeal and replace' effort for every state, every taxpayer.  Finally, we're going to look for a different way to fund New York, reducing our reliance on income taxes, such as a payroll tax.  And yeah, carried interest would be a thing of the past, too.

There was a bit more in there, but then the Sonofa Gov tried to find his father.
As the greatest Republican president Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." But our obligation as leaders is not just to say what we are against, but also what we support. Our obligation as leaders is not just to criticize, but to offer an alternative - and we do. New York follows a different path. New York believes that there is no future through division, but only through unity. The New York Way is to believe diversity is not a liability; it is the exact opposite. Diversity is our greatest asset. We celebrate it. The New York Way is that tolerance is expected from all and inclusion is our operating principle, and forging community is our ultimate goal...
And maybe, just maybe, to fuel the fire for 2020.
Gay and straight, white and black and brown, upstate and downstate - all working together focusing on what unites us rather than divides us and then building on that commonality. Now, this is not a new principle. It's not a democratic or republican idea, nor is it even uniquely New York. It is an idea proven over 240 years. It is the nation's founding premise and enduring promise. Is it our Founding Fathers' essential wisdom summed up in just three words: e pluribus unum. Out of many, one. So fundamental to the American idea that in 1782 they stitched the words on the great seal of the United States, and that seal and those words are on a flag that has hung in the Oval Office everyday since. Right behind president Trump's desk. To find the way forward, the president only needs to turn around. 
And then, back to New York.
That, my friends, is the true formula for what makes America great. That is the simple yet profound idea that made America the greatest country on the globe. And New York - New York was the laboratory for that idea. We proved that it worked in 1782, and we proved that it works today. This year, let us show what New York is, at its best. Let us show this nation the New York lesson: that at times of trouble and anxiety, the premise that made America great still guides us. That we do not seek to raise ourselves by pulling another down, but rather we believe we succeed by raising each other up. 
That is the New York Way.  And the New York Way is true north. And our true north is to follow the credo on the great seal of the State of New York: always reach higher, always hear our better angels, always aspire to unify, and always point up. 
Excelsior!
To infinity - and beyond!

No, seriously - there's a whole lot of stuff in here, and a lot of it is going to cost a ton of money that we simply do not have. Even Cuomo admits we don't have any money.

It's going to be an interesting session, for sure, starting with Cuomo's budget, due in the next ten days or so.