Andrew Cuomo in 2013 Governor's State of the State speeches


On Abortion: Let women make decision: pregnancy, adoption, or abortion

New York was a national leader protecting choice even before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Governor Cuomo will continue to vigorously protect a woman's right to choose. Therefore, he will fight for passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which will protect the fundamental right of reproductive freedom and a woman's right to make private health care decisions. Several other states have already passed similar laws, including California,

A woman facing an unplanned or problem pregnancy should have the opportunity to make the best decision for herself and her family, whether her decision is continuing the pregnancy, adoption, or abortion.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Civil Rights: Women's Equality Act: Shatter the glass ceiling

Let's make history and let's pass a Women's Equality Act in the State of New York. Women's Equality Act would have a ten point agenda.
  1. Shatter the glass ceiling by passing a real equal pay law - treble damages for underpayment or discrimination.
  2. Have zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace period.
  3. Strengthen employment, lending, and credit discrimination laws.
  4. Strengthen human trafficking laws.
  5. End family status discrimination.
  6. Prevent landlords from denying housing to qualified tenants based on the source of funds, Section 8 families.
  7. Stop housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence.
  8. Stop pregnancy discrimination once and for all.
  9. Protect victims of domestic violence by strengthening the Order-of-Protection laws.
  10. Protect a woman's freedom of choice. Enact a Reproductive Health Act because it is her body, it is her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Corporations: Innovation Hot Spots: tax-free incubator zones

To facilitate growth, Governor Cuomo will launch the Innovation Hot Spots Program. The program will designate ten higher education-private sector high-tech innovation incubators for start-up companies through a competition.

Winning Innovation Hot Spots will be tax-free zones, where start-ups and other businesses will not be subject to business, real property, and sales taxes. Any company that emerges from the incubator will be considered part of tax-free Innovation Hot Spots under which neither these companies nor their full-time employees will pay designated taxes for the first five years of the companies' existence.

These incubators will help to foster innovation by offering inventors and entrepreneurs a low-cost and supportive environment in which to work. Winning hot spots will provide start-ups with growth support funding through a one-stop shop for services such as legal and accounting, as well as with office space, networking and other technical assistance.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Crime: End "stop and frisk"; it stigmatizes young black males

We are one New York, and as one New York we will not tolerate discrimination. There is a challenge posed by the "stop and frisk" police policies. Roughly 50,000 arrests in New York City for marijuana possession, more than any other possession. Of those 50,000 arrests, 82% are black and Hispanic. Of the 82% that are black and Hispanic, 69% are under the age of 30 years old. These are young, predominately black and Hispanic males. These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a permanent record. It's not fair. It's not right. It must end. And it must end now. The problem is the disconnect because marijuana on a person is a violation, marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor. There must be parity. Decriminalize the public view with 15 grams or less so there is fairness and parity in the system and we stop stigmatizing these people, making it harder to find a job, making it harder to get into to school, making it harder to turn their lives around at a very young age.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Crime: Videotape all interrogations for serious crimes

The State must do more to ensure the integrity and reliability of evidence pertaining to confessions. False confessions have been shown to contribute to wrongful convictions. In order to help prevent wrongful convictions based on false confessions, as well as to protect law enforcement from erroneous allegations of coercion, interrogations of persons arrested for serious offenses such as homicide, kidnapping and certain sex offenses should be recorded on video. It is time that New York joined the 18 states and District of Columbia that have, either legislatively or by judicial action, implemented this practice.

Governor Cuomo will propose that videotaped interrogations be required for suspects in serious crimes, including homicides, kidnapping and violent sex crimes.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Drugs: Criminalize synthetic marijuana and designer drugs

A 2012 Order for Summary Action effectively banning the sale of bath salts and synthetic marijuana in New York State. Known as "designer drugs," because they are synthetically manufactured compounds chemically similar to naturally occurring narcotics and hallucinogens, bath salts and synthetic marijuana can be extremely dangerous substances linked to poisoning, accidental death and suicide. [The state] outlawed the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. This made law enforcement part of the solution, even if manufacturers make alterations to the drug's chemical structure.

We must make designer drugs like bath salts & synthetic marijuana Schedule I drugs--on par with heroin, LSD, marijuana, & ecstasy. Therefore, Governor Cuomo will propose legislation to criminalize the sale and possession of these substances, and ensure our laws give us the flexibility to immediately tackle the next iteration of designer drugs so not a single life is lost.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Education: Tie 4% funding increase to teacher evaluation system

We started last year a teacher evaluation system, after years and years and years of dallying and opposition and lack of progress, we said last year we agreed on an evaluation system and then we said to the school districts across the state, we want you to adopt it, we want you to adopt it by the end of the year, and if you don't, you're not going to get the increase of 4% that we promised in the budget. Well my friends, the 4% agreement worked; 99% of the school districts have submitted a teacher evaluation test already ahead of the deadline, congratulations. We want to keep it going; more than 90% of the plans that have come in last only for one year. We want to keep in the model that in order to get the additional aid, you have to continue the evaluation process.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Energy & Oil: New York Greenbank: $1 billion to spur the clean economy

The economy of tomorrow is the clean tech economy. We all know it, it's a foot race--whatever state, whatever region gets there first wins the prize, and we want it to be New York. We want to create the New York Greenbank, which is a $1 billion bank to leverage public dollars with private sector matched money to spur the clean economy. We want to extend the New York's sun solar jobs program at $150 million annually for 10 years to increase solar panel installations for home and business. It's good for the environment and it's good for the economy. We want to create the Charge New York program. This is the future, my friends, and we want to invest in an electric car network to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, installing a statewide network of charging stations and have New York be one of the forerunners in this race all across the country.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Energy & Oil: Lower carbon emissions via market-based cap-and-trade system

Governor Cuomo proposes to create a $1 billion NY Green Bank to leverage public dollars with a private-sector match to spur the clean economy. A NY Green Bank offers a cost-effective market mechanism to capitalize on this opportunity, unleashing green technologies and the many benefits that will come with them. The NY Green Bank staff would also serve a coordinating role to enhance the collective strength of all State clean energy programs, including those outside their immediate purview.

Our state has a track record of being at the forefront of environmental and energy policy innovations. Notable among them is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which lowers carbon emissions through the use of a market-based cap-and-trade system. The NY Green Bank is another forward-looking way for our state to lead on energy policy and improve our residents' economic prospects and quality of life.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Families & Children: Prohibit Internet access to child pornography

Governor Cuomo and the Legislature also enacted a new law that will more effectively prohibit Internet access to child pornography and ensure that child pornography can never be legally possessed in the state. The legislation prohibits individuals from knowingly accessing, with the intent of viewing, child pornography on the Internet. This legislation closes a loophole to provide that an individual intentionally accessing a website to view child pornography can be charged with a class E felony.
Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Government Reform: Adopt NYC's public campaign finance system statewide

Public Financing of State Elections: New York City's existing public financing matching system, the Campaign Finance Program (CFP) administered by the Campaign Finance Board, provides the ideal model for statewide reform.

New York's public financing system need not be a burden on its taxpayers. The system should be funded, in whole or in substantial part, from sources beyond general revenues from taxpayers. Furthermore, under the State campaign finance program, candidates should be required to agree to participate in debates in order to receive public financing.

New York State's contribution limits for candidates must be lowered generally, with even lower limits for those candidates who receive the benefits of public matching financing. Large contributions to and transfers from political party committee accounts are currently unlimited and should be limited. The current annual limit on aggregate contributions from a contributor to a party or constituted committee should be reduced.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Government Reform: Create early voting system for one week, including weekend

Early voting is a form of insurance [against election-day disruptions like] Superstorm Sandy. New York has consistently ranked 47 in the nation or worse in voter turnout. Early voting is one of the most important steps necessary to improve voter turnout by making voting more convenient.

New York should create an early voting system that is at least one week long, and includes the weekend before a scheduled Election Day. Longer periods of early voting have not shown to be correlated to greater voter turnout, and New York should strike a balance that optimizes convenience for voters without creating unnecessary administrative burdens.

Having satellite polling locations open on a weekend is essential for those individuals whose work and child care schedules do not accommodate taking time off to vote. Furthermore, people focus their attention on elections closer to Election Day, so having early voting available during a weekend near Election Day is critical to a successful system.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Gun Control: 7-point agenda to stop the madness of gun violence

In the area of public safety, gun violence has been on a rampage as we know painfully. We must stop the madness, my friends. And in one word it is just enough. It has been enough. We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured. We respect hunters and sportsmen. This is not taking away people's guns. I own a Remington shotgun. I've hunted, I've shot. That's not what this is about. It is about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles. That's what this is about. We have a seven point agenda.
  1. Enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation period.
  2. Close the private sale loophole by requiring federal background checks.
  3. Ban high-capacity magazines.
  4. Enact tougher penalties for illegal gun use, guns on school grounds and violent gangs.
  5. Keep guns from people who are mentally ill.
  6. Ban direct internet sales of ammunition in New York.
  7. Create a State NICS check on all ammunition purchases.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Gun Control: Guns impose huge economic costs, as well as lives

Guns have both a noble and a tragic tradition in America and in New York State. They are a sign of our nation's fiercely defended independence and self-reliance.

Guns not only cost us lives, but they also impose huge economic costs. Emergency rooms treat nearly 500,000 nonfatal gunshot injuries from assaults nationwide, costing an estimated $2 billion a year, half of which cost is borne by the public.

Fear of gun violence invades neighborhoods, causing disruptions in the normal rhythms of life, work and school. That threat depresses property values and puts a drag on economic development.

It does not have to be this way. We can ensure that we promote safe ownership of guns

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Gun Control: Ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines

[Some guns are] so dangerous and some ammunition devices so lethal that we simply cannot afford to continue selling them in our state. With military-style features that are unneeded and unwanted for hunting and sporting purposes, assault weapons are this kind of weapon. And large capacity magazines are this kind of ammunition device.

Our state has had a ban on assault weapons since 2000, but it is so riddled with loopholes that it has become virtually unenforceable. We do not ban large capacity magazines manufactured prior to the enactment of the federal assault weapons ban in 1994--magazines with the capacity to hold upwards of 30, 50, or even 100 rounds. It is virtually impossible for law enforcement to determine whether a large capacity magazine was manufactured prior to 1994, and, as a result, we effectively have no ban.

In order to fix this problem, Gov. Cuomo will propose tightening our assault weapons ban and eliminating large capacity magazines regardless of date of manufacture.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Immigration: Created a state Office for New Americans

No state knows better than New York the invigorating power that immigration holds for our economy, as well as our social growth. Governor Cuomo created an Office for New Americans to assist legal residents to prosper in our state. More than 25 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers were opened throughout the state to provide advice and assistance.
Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Jobs: Reduce the crushing burden of unemployment & workers comp

We must continue to reduce costs of doing business in the New New York. We must reduce the crushing burden of unemployment insurance and workers comp. You will hear this from almost every businessman in New York. We propose a reform of the workers comp program that would streamline the system. We would also reform the unemployment insurance program by ending borrowing to pay benefits for the first time in state history. It will reduce the cost to business while also increasing the benefits to workers for the first time since 1999. And it will save $1.3 billion to business, just think about that.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Jobs: Current minimum wage is unlivable

The current minimum wage is unlivable. It's only $14,616. The annual cost of gasoline is $1,200. The annual cost of electricity is $1,300. The annual cost of auto insurance is $1,400. The annual cost of groceries is $6,500. The annual cost of childcare is $10,000. The annual cost of housing is $15,000 on a minimum wage of $14,000. My friends, it does not add up. Nineteen other states have raised the minimum wage; we propose raising the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour. It's the right thing to do. It's the fair thing to do. It is long overdue. We should have done it last year. Let's do it this year.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Jobs: Phase One casino gambling plan: three Upstate casinos

We can revitalize the Upstate economy by increasing tourism through destination resorts and casinos. The fact is that gaming already exists throughout New York State, but the state is unable to fully capitalize on it. Native Americans have five casinos, and there are nine racinos at race tracks.

This year, the Governor will propose a Phase One casino gaming plan, with the following elements:

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Technology: Push tech-transfer from academia to commercialization

The economic challenge that continues is tech-transfer from academia to commercialization. New York universities are ranked second nationally in total research dollars spent. California is first, but New York only gets 4% of the nation's venture capital while California gets 47%. We're doing the research, we've developed the ideas, we have the academic institutions; we're not making the transference to commercialization. That gap is what we have to fix and that's what we have to fill. To help do that, we propose creating new innovation hotspots. An innovation hotspot is a high-tech incubator between the higher-ed and the private sector for startup companies. An innovation hotspot will be a tax-free zone. No business, real property, or sales tax. If a business stays an incubated business; is located in that zone, they will pay no tax. That zone will provide one-stop funding and services--legal services, accounting services, all the services they need to grow their business.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature Jan 9, 2013

On Technology: Crack down on texting while driving

Texting or using a handheld electronic device while driving is dangerous and has led to fatal accidents in New York State, often involving young people. To crack down on distracted driving and make New York's roadways safer for all, the Governor and Legislature put in place tough new penalties for drivers who use electronic devices while behind the wheel. The law has been an overwhelming success, increasing four-fold the number of tickets given for texting-while-driving violations in the one year since the new measures took effect; bringing the number from more than 4,500 to nearly 21,000 violations per year.
Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

On Welfare & Poverty: CORe initiative: support community-based services

Place matters. Where you live determines how you live, for better and for worse. In New York State distress is concentrated in a small number of neighborhoods.

The Community, Opportunity, Reinvestment (CORe) initiative will better align state support with local need, while supporting successful community-based efforts, so that together we can make measurable and sustained progress in improving the outcomes in these communities.

The CORe initiative will link up to ten State agencies across several issue areas, including health services, juvenile justice, labor, public safety, child welfare, substance abuse, and economic development. The CORe initiative will operate primarily at two interconnected levels:

  1. State COReStat: regular review of outcomes from a comprehensive inventory of existing programs
  2. Neighborhood COReStat: CORe is being piloted in two communities in 2012, and additional communities will be added in 2013.
Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet Jan 9, 2013

The above quotations are from 2013 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2013 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Andrew Cuomo.
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Page last updated: Apr 20, 2014