Since Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011 New York has experienced something of a renaissance: the state apparatus is functioning; there is less chaos in Albany, and there is a legislature willing to get things done. This is all the result of a new attitude instilled upon Albany by none other than Prince Andrew himself. Say what you want about him; "he looks mean;" "he is smug;" or "he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth." One thing is for sure, he came to Albany without the bat but people are listening to his message like he is ready to knock one out of the Polo Grounds.
On of April 1, 2011, the legislature passed an on time budget, which was a political triumph: only six times since 1975 had the state previously passed a spending plan by the time March turned into April. Holy ****!
The budget also accomplished something that was nagging the fiscal and economic health of New York, mostly a 10 billion dollar deficit. In order to combat this problem, Cuomo sought a reduction allocated to state education and health. In his on-going battles with state unions he is also proposing limiting retirement benefits for newly hired public workers across the state, including in New York City. In seeking to reduce the projected cost of running the state government by more than $1.1 billion, Mr. Cuomo has also proposed continuing a hiring freeze, combining some offices and agencies, and consolidating procurement and information technology services.
These are all measures befitting of New York State's woes. If you take into consideration that he also got the State Senate to play ball on a law legalizing same sex marriage and in exchange for their cooperation, the Senate passed a property tax cap at 2%, things are looking up. But to say New York is well on its way to the glory days of the Empire State is premature. Some controversial issues still remain in the public conscious. Cuomo is pushing hard for the expansion of casinos throughout the state and exploring methods such as hydro-fracking as a way to tap natural gas reserves across New York.
Both issues could supply badly need jobs to New Yorkers but pose the problem of upsetting certain segments of the electorate. With approval ratings sky high right now, (a poll released Feb. 6 by the Siena Research Institute, pegs Gov. Cuomo at 74 percent favorability, with a mere 18 percent expressing an unfavorable view of him) as one Cuomo official recently told me, even if we go down from here, were still doing better than any other administration during the past fifteen years. It's a nice position to be in but one that can change very quickly.