Mixed reaction to 2014 State of the State

Posted at: 01/09/2014 12:49 AM
Updated at: 01/09/2014 2:15 AM
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo's 4th State of the State Address comes at a time when he, and the entire state legislature are up for reelection, leading many people to wonder if the governor's agenda is more or less likely to pass this year.

Saying that New York was "on the precipice of an abyss", and "literally a joke on late night TV," Governor Cuomo on Wednesday took credit for bringing New York State back from the brink of financial ruin.

"We have gone from a ten billion dollar deficit to a two billion dollar surplus," the governor proclaimed.

Not so fast, says Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R - Melrose)

"The property tax freeze, quite frankly, is a scam, it's unworkable," McLaughlin opined. "At the end of the day, I'm adding up a lot of money that we don't have in the state of New York, so that's the unfortunate part."

Barbara Bartoletti, from the League of Women Voters, thinks the governor's claim that he reduced everyone's taxes seems a bit misleading.

"The tax bills just came out about a couple of weeks ago," Bartoletti points out," and people are saying, "No, no, no, my taxes went up."

On education, the governor promised universal full day pre-K statewide.

"We have trouble paying for all-day kindergarten," says Senator Cecelia Tkaczyk (D - Duanesburg), "so unless the governor is going to be coming up with a significant amount of increased aid, I don't see how we can do it (pre-K) statewide."

State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer also questions the affordability of universal pre-K.

"This is a very powerful governor," Kremer says, "He has a way of getting his way and I would say these (his political agenda, including universal pre-K) are very much reality."

For some people, reality is what they didn't hear.

"I would have liked to hear relative to school districts that we're looking into filling in that gap elimination money," said Senator Kathy Marchione (R - Halfmoon).

"He did not say the word 'mandate relief'," said Bartoletti.

"As is always, let's see what the budget brings out in the next couple of weekd."

When seeking reaction to the governor's State of the State Address, the most common response is "the devil is in the details, which means, let's wait until we see the governor's spending plan.

That Executive Budget is expected in about two weeks.