Highlights of Cuomo’s 2014 agenda
ALBANY—As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2014 State of the State address mostly focuses on economic development and creating jobs.
Here, from the formal 200-page book accompanying his Wednesday afternoon speech, are some of the highlights of his agenda for the coming year:
Money for schools
Cuomo hopes to have a $2 billion bond referendum to fund upgrades to New York's public schools, including Wifi, tablet technology. The governor also commits to universal pre-K on a statewide basis.
The governor, a Democrat, unveiled a suite of tax cuts on Monday, and re-detailed them in his State of the State address. They include a freeze on local property taxes, which Cuomo hopes will push voters to share services among local governments.
The governor's economic development program this year focuses on a look abroad, utilizing existing initiatives like the START-UP New York program—which offers exemptions from property and income taxes for companies that relocate to New York—and its system of regional councils to try and lure foreign business into the state. Cuomo will reportedly name former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack to help lead the effort.
Building after the storm
Cuomo's program is ambitious, and includes $100 million for affordable housing, the reconstruction of marshlands as well as hardening state assets and extending a network of fuel reserves. Cuomo also proposed improving the state's airports.
Cuomo included many recommendations from his specially convened commission—the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption—including a strong commitment to a system of public campaign finance. The booklet devotes the most detail to changes to state law tightening the definition of bribery, but also an independent entity to investigate violations of election law.
Medicinal marijuana. Cuomo offered details on a program to dispense medicinal marijuana, which would be available at 20 hospitals around the state. Patients must have cancer, glaucoma or “other diseases approved by the commissioner of health and be in “a life-threatening or sense-threatening situation.” The program will also be used for scientific research and evaluation of marijuana's efficacy.