On January 1, 2011, the new Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, delivered his inauguration speech. Below are excerpts worth noting, representing about 20% of the total content. Reading these one can only hope that he means it, and is able to deliver on much of what he plans. Goodness knows it will be extremely difficult, but if he does it will save the people of New York from fiscal disaster and population flight:
1. From the falls of Niagara to the powerful waves of Montauk, we (New York) have it all and everything in between. We really have every asset that man or God could be expected to give to a place.
2. Young people all across upstate New York who are leaving because they believe there is no economic future left.
3. People all across the state — when you mention state government they are literally shaking their heads. Worse than no confidence, what they’re saying is, there’s no trust. The words “government in Albany” have become a national punch line.
4. New York faces a deficit. A deficit that we talk about all day long — the budget deficit, the budget deficit. But it’s actually worse: The state faces a budget deficit and a competence deficit and an integrity deficit and a trust deficit.
5. Number two is going to be cleaning up Albany and restoring trust. Because Bob is right, you have nothing without trust. Any relationship is only as good as the level of trust, and we have lost the trust. And we are not going to get it back until we clean up Albany.
6. We have to pass a property tax cap in the State of New York because working families can’t afford to pay the ever-increasing tax burden. Nothing is going up in their lives. Their income isn’t going up, their banking account isn’t going up, their savings aren’t going up. They can’t afford the never-ending tax increases in the State of New York and this state has no future if it is going to be the tax capital of the nation. We have to send that signal this session by passing a property tax cap.
7. And my friends, we must rightsize the state government for today. The state government has grown too large, we can’t afford it, the number of local governments has grown too large, and that we’re going to have to reduce and consolidate.
8. We will be taking on powerful interests and long-entrenched patterns of behavior. And change is very, very hard. Change is hard individually, in our own lives. Change is especially hard in a collective and to get this government to change, to get this body to change, after all the years and after all the attempts and after people are so set in their ways, it’s going to be difficult.
9. First, we have to start with a new attitude that reflects a new reality. We need to correct decades of declines and billions of dollars in overspending. The special interests who have ruled our government for years must give way to the people’s agenda.
10. There is no more time to waste. It is a time for deeds not words, and results not rhetoric. It is time for a bold agenda and immediate action. There is no more waiting for tomorrow and there are no more baby steps my friends. My attitude will be constructive impatience with the status quo of Albany. We need change and we need it now.
11. Rather than seeking the apparent safety of the lowest common denominator, we must strive to reach the highest possible goal.
12. To my Republican colleagues, I say I will not govern in a partisan way and my administration will not be a partisan administration. I was not a partisan Attorney General, I did not run a partisan campaign. I don’t believe the Democrats or the Republicans alone created the problems we face today and I don’t believe the Democrats or Republicans alone will be able solve the problems we face today.
13. Today, I extend my hand in partnership across the aisle to my Republican colleagues so we may take the first step immediately.
14. I have my three best, beautiful reasons with me today, my three children. And as a parent, as a citizen, the fundamental obligation is to leave them a home that is better, sweeter, fairer, stronger than the home that we had. And their home is the State of New York and their home is going to stay the State of New York.