Calls for Critical Fiscal Reforms to Bring Accountability to Government
Proposes Sweeping Ethics Reform - the Reform Albany Act – to Fundamentally Change the Culture of Albany
Announces Excelsior Jobs Program to Replace Empire Zones – Three Strategic Incentives to Target Growth Industries Including High Tech and Clean Energy
Calls for Revitalization of Prime Vacant Housing Stock in Urban Areas across the State with Sustainable Neighborhoods Project
In his second State of the State address, Governor David A. Paterson today outlined his plan to rebuild New York through firm and decisive steps – including fiscal and ethics reform and an economic development plan that puts New Yorkers back to work. The Governor laid out an agenda to end the culture of over-spending and abuse of power that has for too long dominated State government, including a proposal for sweeping and comprehensive ethics reform - the centerpiece of which is a new independent Ethics Commission.
Governor Paterson also announced a replacement for Empire Zones – the Excelsior Jobs Program – which includes three aggressive tax incentives for targeted growth industries, the Sustainable Neighborhoods Project to revitalize prime housing stock that sits vacant in urban cities across New York State and the Manufacturing Legacy Program to leverage the strengths of the State’s manufacturing industries to guarantee the economic security of the people who are carrying its legacy into the twenty-first century. In addition, the Governor proposed a bold initiative to revive the New York Insurance Exchange that would bring buyers and sellers of complex commercial insurance closer together, providing increased transparency and security for everyone in the process.
“Today is not a day to look back. It is a day to turn crisis into opportunity, to reclaim our government and recommit ourselves to doing better for the people of New York. Today, I stand before all New Yorkers with a bold and decisive plan to rebuild our State’s economy into a national model of ingenuity and strength, to rebuild our people’s confidence in the stability of our State, to rebuild our manufacturing base to meet the energy standards of this enlightened age and to rebuild the trust that the citizens of this great State once had in their government,” Governor Paterson said. “Every decision I make will come down to one question – are we doing what is right for the people of New York? It is time to rise to the high expectations of our citizens and to bring the lasting change that they have long sought and deserved.”
“To rebuild New York, we need to enact fundamental fiscal reform that makes government more accountable to taxpayers. We must enact real and lasting cuts to our State’s bureaucracy, merge agencies to improve efficiency and save money, begin the public tracking of agency performance, and develop a long-term strategy for fiscal planning,” Governor Paterson said. “The days of running New York like a payday loan operation must come to an end.”
To achieve these goals, Governor Paterson today deployed EmpireStat, a new program to track the progress of State agencies – a critical tool for the Governor and the public to assess whether the State, its agencies and authorities are making real progress in the areas that matter to New Yorkers. The Governor will use this tool to conduct agency performance reviews, to hold agencies responsible for their performance, to report directly to New York State taxpayers on that performance and to provide direction for improvement where necessary. In addition, the Governor’s Office of Taxpayer Accountability (OTA) will continue to build on its successes of 2009 with additional actions in 2010 that will result in even more savings and efficient operations including consolidation of certain State agencies and functions.
Governor Paterson has asked Lieutenant Governor Ravitch to take the lead on developing a Four Year Financial Plan. A multi-year fiscal recovery plan is the most sensible way to bring the State’s financial plan into structural balance. The long-overdue goal of structural balance is the only way to budget responsibly and avoid unexpected cuts in essential services – such as schools, hospitals, and mass transit – in times of economic distress. The foundation of such a plan will be the requirement that government spending year-to-year is kept in line with reasonable revenue assumptions and that adequate reserves are created in good times so that the State can better weather rough times.
Governor Paterson has proposed major reform legislation that would cap the growth of State government spending. A spending cap would help control State expenditures, improve New York’s long-term fiscal integrity, and make government more accountable to taxpayers. This fiscal reform bill is tied to a circuit-breaker property tax relief program that would provide direct relief to taxpayers once the State’s fiscal house is in order.
Read more of the Governor's plan here