It has been three years since Governor Andrew Cuomo assumed oﬃce as the 56th Governor of the State of New York. His leadership has restored our State as a model for the nation and demonstrated the impact that an eﬀective and responsive government can have on the lives of its people. With all that has been accomplished over the last three years, it is easy to forget where we started and how far we have come.When the Governor began his term, New York’s economy was in a downward spiral as a result of an exodus of businesses and people and a signiﬁcant loss of jobs, particularly upstate. State government faced massive budget deﬁcits that sapped its ability to govern. Homeowners and businesses suﬀered under ever-rising property taxes, and an out-of-control pension system burdened local governments and threatened to destroy their future.Albany was both unwilling and unable to address these problems. Controlled by special interests and mired in political gridlock, the government stood as a symbol of dysfunction and inaction that lacked the political will to make tough decisions. Years of scandals and corruption caused people to lose faith in their government. The State was seen as hopeless and beyond repair.
Governor Cuomo came into oﬃce promising to tackle the problems plaguing Albany, to change the attitude and culture of the government, and he has not let up. The year just ending has been the administration’s most productive. It builds on the signiﬁcant accomplishments of the ﬁrst two years and helps reaﬃrm New York’s role as a national leader. Among the administration’s major accomplishments in 2013:
Governor Cuomo delivered on a third consecutive on-time balanced budget: this is the ﬁrst time this has happened in 30 years. In his ﬁrst year he closed a $10 billion budget deﬁcit with no new taxes, fees, or gimmicks and since then has held State spending growth to 2% per year. The Governor delivered additional income tax cuts for the middle class in 2013, building on his 2011 cuts that brought middle class income tax rates to their lowest level since 1953 and eliminated the MTA payroll tax for over 700,000 small businesses and self-employed individuals.During his ﬁrst two years, Governor Cuomo led the successful ﬁght for a property tax cap that holds the growth of the local property taxes to 2%, and sweeping pension reforms that will save the State and local governments $80 billion over the next 30 years. In 2013, he continued his eﬀorts to control property taxes by ending all future growth in Medicaid costs to local government and making important changes to the binding arbitration law. The Governor redoubled his eﬀorts to build the economy and create jobs, awarding $750 million in the third round of the Regional Economic Development competition for high priority, job creating projects. He began the game-changing Start-Up NY program, a partnership with the State University of New York and other colleges and universities. The program oﬀers businesses that locate or expand in New York the opportunity to operate completely tax-free for ten years on or near eligible campuses. Businesses will partner with these institutions and be able to access industry experts and advanced research laboratories. The Governor continued to expand the Upstate economy through the “Buﬀalo Billion” project, a multi-year $1 billion economic initiative; nanotech investment; unprecedented support to the State’s agricultural industry; and the largest tourism campaign in decades