Cuomo takes a page from Bloomberg on guns, tech and housing

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Governor Andrew Cuomo's agenda is sometimes at odds with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's, but today, in his third and by most obviously liberal State of the State address, Cuomo followed the mayor's lead on gun control, affordable housing and the tech sector.

Bloomberg has, by virtue of his aggressive advocacy and spending on what was until recently regarded as a third-rail issue for the liberal side, made himself the contemporary face of gun control. It's earned him countless national press appearances and a role in Vice President's Joe Biden's newly engaged campaign for gun-control measures.

This afternoon, Cuomo sought to make his own mark on the issue, declaring that New York State should "enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period."

"We must stop the madness, my friends," said Cuomo. "And in one word, it's just enough."

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Cuomo called for closing a loophole that allows for gun sales between individuals without federal background checks (something Bloomberg also champions); banning high-capacity magazines (something Bloomberg champions); keeping guns away from the mentally ill (another thing Bloomberg champions); banning direct internet sales of ammunition (which Bloomberg also champions); and requiring state background checks for ammunition sales.

Cuomo also called for enacting tougher penalties for illegal gun use, which is effectively a concession to the Senate Republicans.

Cuomo's discussion of the technology sector was similarly Bloombergian.

One of the mayor's main third-term goals has been to foment a robust tech sector in New York City, and thereby diversify its economy.

Hence the new tech campus Cornell University is building on Roosevelt Island, and the NYU/NYU-Poly Center for Urban Science and Progress, and the mayor's web of tech incubators, all of which are designed to translate good ideas, sourced in academia or elsewhere, into businesses that create jobs.

Today, Cuomo outlined a similar initiative on a statewide scale, though he credited San Diego for its inspiration.

"The economic challenge that continues is tech transfer from academia to commercialization," said Cuomo, adding, "New York only gets four percent of the nation's venture capital, while California gets 47 percent."

He called for creating "innovation hotspots," which he said would be tax-free, high-tech incubators providing one-stop services to help businesses grow.

Cuomo said the state would also create something called the Innovation New York Network, based on a San Diego program, designed to foster collaboration between venture capitalists and higher education "to foster commercialization." One of its members will be David Skorton, the same Cornell president creating that campus on Roosevelt Island.

Finally, much as Bloomberg created the New Housing Marketplace Plan, designed to create or preserve 165,000 affordable housing units, Cuomo--who, as a former federal housing secretary, has lots of experience in the area--said he would create his own $1 billion affordable housing plan, with the intention of creating or preserving more than 14,000 units in the next five years.

"New York still has a terrible affordable housing need that has gone unaddressed for too long," he said.