New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2013 State of the State address, entitled “New York Rising”, earlier this afternoon. As expected, some of the main points the governor touched upon included plans to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, how we can proactively prepare for further extreme weather events and tightening up New York State’s assault-weapon ban. Read on for a summary of Gov. Cuomo’s agenda for the year, which also includes an aggressive move towards innovation, clean tech and green initiatives.
Hurricane Sandy was one of the first things Gov. Cuomo mentioned in his address. “This year, as we all know, we had more than our share of tragedies,” he began. “We saw New York at its worst but we also saw New York at its best.” The governor thanked the heroes who emerged during the crisis – from first responders to truck drivers to government workers to the National Guard – asked that the whole room observe a moment of silence honoring the 60 lives that perished during the storm.
The next topic that the governor continued onto was his goal of reversing decades of decline and starting a New York comeback by creating jobs, bolstering education and continuing to support entrepreneurship through the “New York Open for Business” initiative. This part of his agenda includes the creation of new innovation hotspots (tax-free, high-tech incubator zones) to attract tech companies and startups to New York.
We were especially excited to hear the next portion of the governor’s speech, which focused on green initiatives for New York to not only protect the environment but also to create jobs and spur the economy. “Clean tech is the wave of the future – we all know it,” said the governor. Some of the sustainability initiatives proposed were a New York “Green Bank” to encourage more private market activity in clean energy, a New York solar jobs program and a Charge New York state-wide network of EV charging stations. The governor also introduced New York’s new cabinet-level Energy Czar Richard Kauffman.
The most highly-anticipated and emotionally-charged part of the address was the introduction of a 7-point gun control agenda for New York state centered around enacting “the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period.” The agenda includes federal background checks, keeping guns from people who are mentally ill and banning high-capacity gun magazines. “Let’s pass safe and fair legislation and lead the way once again in saving lives,” he said.
The governor then looped back around to the state’s plan to rebuild post-Sandy. “Let’s start by learning from what has happened,” he said. “The first thing we have to learn is to accept the fact…that climate change is real.” The governor stressed the need to increase the use of local renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gases and also explained some of the solutions being developed to protect New York during future storms such as roll-down doors, floodgates and inflatable bladders.
The Recreate NY-Smart Home program to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy to be able to withstand future storms was also introduced as well as a home buyout program for homeowners who want to relocate instead of rebuilding. The governor also pointed out the need to harden our utilities and called for the abolition of the Long Island Power Authority. Finally, the governor spoke out against the federal government’s delay in providing NY and NJ with the proper assistance in the wake of the storm. “We need and we deserve federal assistance,” he said.
In closing, the governor put a positive spin on the hardships that New York has faced in the past year, calling them an opportunity to “rebuild a better society than we had.” For a more comprehensive look at everything the governor spoke about – including a proposed minimum wage hike (to $8.75) and a 10-point agenda to boost equal rights for women – please see a full copy of his prepared 2013 agenda below.