GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK

Andrew Cuomo was sworn in as the 56th Governor of New York State on January 1, 2011. He took office with a bold agenda to restore honor and integrity to government in Albany; get the state’s fiscal house in order; strengthen the economy and create jobs by transforming the state’s economic development strategy; and restore New York’s historic role as a progressive leader for the nation. Governor Cuomo promised to take power back from the special interests that had controlled Albany for decades and put the people back in control of their government.

By any measure, the Governor’s first year in office was an outstanding success. It began with one of included an on-time balanced budget, the passage of the state’s first ever property tax cap and achieving marriage equality for all New Yorkers. It ended with an Extraordinary session in December that resulted in the passage of a historic job creation and tax reform package. Governor Cuomo’s bold leadership and bi-partisan approach to governing have transcended the gridlock all too common in today’s politics and produced real results for the people of New York.


HISTORIC LEGISLATIVE SESSION


The 2011 legislative session was by all standards one of the most historic and productive legislative sessions in modern Albany history. Many of the achievements had been debated and unreachable for decades and were finally accomplished with Governor Cuomo’s leadership. While partisan feuding blocked progress in other states and in Washington, Governor Cuomo forged broad bipartisan coalitions to drive New York forward to a brighter and promising future.


POST –SESSION ACCOMPLISHMENTS


Job Creation and Economic Development Efforts

 

Governor Cuomo’s first year in office has been filled with great challenges and great successes. We have made significant progress in making good on the promises he made to the people when he took office to return our state to a position of national leadership and to make our government as good as the people it serves. He has achieved this progress through leadership that fosters bipartisan cooperation and results over political rhetoric.

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK

 

Andrew Cuomo has earned a reputation as one of our nation’s most committed and successful public advocates, prosecuting corporate and government corruption, and fighting on behalf of the people of New York -- including those New Yorkers who cannot stand up for themselves. But Andrew also recognized that the Attorney General’s office could have an even greater impact by taking on the underlying problems affecting New York.  That’s why, along with pursuing individual cases, Andrew has convinced multiple industries to reform their harmful practices -- and pushed through legislation in Albany to make sure those reforms stay in place.

SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

 

As HUD Secretary under President Clinton, Andrew Cuomo was widely praised as a “turnaround CEO” who transformed the agency.  Andrew left HUD with its first budget surplus in years, while dramatically expanding low-cost housing opportunities for hard working Americans.

FOUNDER OF H.E.L.P.

 

Andrew founded the Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (HELP) to directly take on the challenge of homelessness.  Under Andrew’s leadership, HELP successfully changed the lives of thousands of families in New York and across America, while becoming a model for cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Learn more about Andrew Cuomo's record of success

Closed $10 billion deficit with honestly balanced budget

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Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state passed a historic budget that closed a $10 billion deficit with no new taxes or borrowing. For the first time in years, the budget was passed on time. In addition to addressing the state’s urgent economic issues, the most productive legislative sessions in years that the Governor reformed the budget process for years to come by ending routine spending increases that automatically allocated more money to government programs every year without consideration of economic realities or program performance.

The budget produced fundamental changes in the way the state allocated funds for Medicaid and education, including measures to reduce government spending, consolidate state agencies and introduce a basic performance metric in state operations. To provide for long-term structural reform of state government,Governor Cuomo established a Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission that will reduce the size of state government by consolidating bureaucratic redundancies and developing performance and efficiency measures to ensure the taxpayers get the highest quality services for their money.

After the budget, Governor Cuomo turned to accomplishing the other major goals of his legislative agenda. He embarked on a statewide “People First Campaign” to build a broad coalition behind three reforms significant to New Yorkers: capping property taxes, cleaning up Albany through real ethics reform, and ensuring marriage equality.

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Property Tax Cap

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New York State’s property taxes are among the highest in the nation. They are a burden to our families and job killers that make our state less economically competitive. To end the devastating impact of out-of- control property taxes, Governor Cuomo led the fight for enactment of the first ever property tax cap. The cap limits tax levy increases to 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Equally important, the tax cap gives localities the power to control their own destiny by providing a mechanism for communities to override the cap should they determine that increasing local taxes is in the best interest of the community.

Along with the property tax cap, Governor Cuomo has undertaken a comprehensive mandate relief effort to reduce the burden placed on local governments and school districts. The Governor’s Mandate Relief Redesign Team has already brought about $125 million in relief. Mandate relief will be a continued focus in the2012 legislative session.

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Ethics reform

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For far too long, New York State’s reputation has been marred by scandal and corruption. Through the comprehensive Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, Governor Cuomo helped bring accountability, transparency, and integrity back to New York State government. Among its many reforms, the legislation requires state officials to make unprecedented disclosure of their income, assets, and their outside clients/customers to whom they have provided services or acted to refer or solicit for their firm. It creates a public database of all lobbyists, strengthens lobbying laws, and provides for pension forfeiture for public officials that are convicted of a felony related to their office. It also establishes a new Joint Commission on Public Ethics to oversee the executive branch, the legislative branch, and lobbyists.

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Marriage equality

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As a result of Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York passed the Marriage Equality Act making our state the largest and most influential state in the nation to extend full marriage equality to all its citizens. To achieve this end, the Governor formed a powerful bipartisan coalition of organizers and supporters to successfully reverse the defeat of marriage equality in 2009. For the Governor, the fight for marriage equality was a struggle for rights and benefits under the law. But at its heart it was about much more. It was about the fundamental notion of equality and respect for everyone, and providing same sex couples with the ability to protect and care for one another, the freedom to express their lifelong commitment, and the dignity of having their relationship recognized by the state they call home. The passage helped restore New York’s reputation as a progressive leader for the nation.

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Other Major Session Accomplishments

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Governor Cuomo accomplished many other lasting reforms in the legislative session.

He ushered in the strongest rent regulation changes in nearly 40 years, protecting the homes of more than one million New Yorkers. The changes include raising the deregulation rent and income thresholds for units and reducing the ability for landlords to manipulate the system at the expense of tenants.

To better protect New York’s environment, the Governor passed the Power NY Act of 2011. The Power NY Act encourages investment in clean power plants, affords communities more opportunities to meaningfully participate in the siting process, and expands opportunities for homeowners and businesses to invest in energy efficiency under the “Green Jobs/Green New York”program. After years of gridlock, this measure advanced with broad support from business, environmental advocates, consumer groups, labor and community organizations.

Through the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program,the State University of New York will receive new support to help build these institutions into regional economic generators and world-class centers of research and innovation. The plan, which included a modest increase intuition in each of the next five years, will also allow schools to add more faculty, educate additional students, increase class offerings and improve graduation rates. The tuition plan brings stability to a history of unpredictable and often dramatic changes in tuition over the years thus allowing students and parents to better plan for college expenses.

The Governor championed a number of proposals to help strengthen New York’s elementary and secondary education system. Working with the State Education Department and the Board of Regents, new regulations were enacted to improve the criteria for teacher evaluations and foster better performance in our education system. The Governor also created two$250 million funds to incentivize school districts to improve student performance in the classroom and increase operational efficiencies.

In order to improve opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, the Governor issued an Executive Order doubling their participation goal instate contracts to 20%.

Other significant actions during the session included:legislation to assist veterans; reform of the juvenile justice system; strengthening the enforcement against dangerous drivers; and ensuring health care coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Labor Agreements

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In the face of the tough economic conditions that have pitted government and organized labor against each other in states throughout the nation, Governor Cuomo worked cooperatively with the state’s two largest public employee unions to reach landmark labor contracts that are fair to workers and our State’s finances.

The Governor worked with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and the Public Employees Federation (PEF) to reach deals that included three year freezes of base wages and redesigns of the employee health care contribution and benefit system. The agreements with CSEA and PEF, which collectively represent 120,000 New York State employees, set a new standard for union contracts in New York and avoided the need for broad layoffs.

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Helping Hand to New Yorkers Hit by Natural Disaster

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In the summer of 2011, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and the resulting floods from the storms, devastated residents, farms, businesses, and communities throughout NY.

The Governor directed a comprehensive and rapid response to the storms that brought the integrated power of state resources to help New Yorkers in need.He was personally on site in the storm regions as he conducted two dozen ground visits and aerial tours.He deployed members of his administration to counties across the state to monitor storm activity and coordinate with local partners on storm response and recovery.After the storms, he formed an Upstate Storm and Recovery Task Force, which conducted over 75 meetings and visits to the hardest-hit areas of the state to expedite recovery efforts.

Governor Cuomo directed over $50 million in state and federal grants and rebates to assist residents and businesses affected by the storms. This funding aided hundreds of farms and Main Street businesses and helped thousands of households to rebuild.The Governor also directed state resources to immediately fix the hundreds of roads and bridges that were closed as a result of the flooding and streamlined state assistance programs.

The Governor launched a volunteer effort called “Labor for Your Neighbor” to enable New Yorkers to help each other in local clean-up efforts. Thousands of volunteers– including Governor Cuomo and two dozen members of his administration – worked in flood-ravaged areas to help clean communities damaged by the storms.

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Remembering 9/11

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Working with the NYS Museum and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Governor Cuomo established 30 “New York Remembers” exhibitions aspart of a statewide recognition of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “New York Remembers” featured historical artifacts from the collections of the State Museum and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The exhibitions gave New Yorkers a place to remember the victims of September 11th and the opportunity to honor the countless heroes who served on September 11 or during the clean-up and recovery efforts.

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Regional Economic Development Councils

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Over the past year, Governor Cuomo has revolutionized New York’s approach to economic development and job creation through the creation of Regional Economic Development Councils. The Regional Councils represent a change from the state’s failed top-down development strategy to one that enables the ten regions of the state to shape their own economic future. The Governor’s ten Regional Councils brought together stakeholders from labor,business, and academia to develop long-term strategic plans based on their regions’ specific priorities and unique resources.

Governor Cuomo also realigned the state’s resources and regulations to support the Regional Councils and eliminate barriers to economic development. Most importantly, the Governor created a new Consolidated Funding Application that allowed for a coordinated evaluation for the awarding of a combined pool of over$1 billion in grant money and tax credits from dozens of existing state programs.

The Regional Councils were driven to succeed through a competition for state resources. After the Regional Councils created their strategic plans, a statewide Strategic Plan Review Committee analyzed and ranked the plans to determine which would have the greatest impact on spurring economic development. Also over2,500 applications under the Consolidated Funding Application were reviewed by the Regional Councils and the various funding agencies. On December8th, the state awarded over $785 million in economic development funding through the Regional Council process. These grants funded a total of over 700individual projects submitted under the strategic planning and Consolidated Funding Application process.

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Investment in New York

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Throughout the past year, Governor Cuomo has worked to make New York open for business once again. After years of having a reputation as a state that was unfriendly to business development, the Governor brought in billions of dollars in investments to New York and attracted and retained good jobs throughout the state.Governor Cuomo achieved a historic $4.4 billion investment from five preeminent international technology companies that puts New York at the forefront of technological development. Intel, IBM, GLOBAL FOUNDRIES, TSMC, and Samsung jointly invested in New York as the destination for the building of the next generation of computer chip. The investment will establish research and development facilities throughout the state and will result in the creation and retention of nearly 7,000 jobs. This tremendous investment – which New York secured over countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East – shows that major worldwide corporations now view New York as a prime location to invest and grow.

Over the last year, Governor Cuomo has worked with companies across the state to help them thrive in New York and create or retain tens of thousands of jobs.

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Historic job creation and middle class tax cut package

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New York State faces economic challenges created by a struggling national economy and compounded by government dysfunction in Washington. But, while Washington is paralyzed by political gridlock, here in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo showed once again how to make government work for the people.

In early December, Governor Cuomo called the Legislature back in Extraordinary session to pass a package of bills designed to strengthen the state’s economy and create jobs. Through a bipartisan, cooperative effort with Speaker Silver and the Assembly and Majority Leader Skelos and the Senate, an unparalleled set of bills were enacted to respond to the current economic challenges facing the state.

They include the New York Works Agenda which will put tens of thousands back to work through a $1 billion targeted investment in rebuilding New York’s roads, bridges, parks, and waterways, and modernizing buildings to be cleaner and more energy efficient. The NY Works Agenda also includes launching a second round of economic regional council awards, pursuing a comprehensive gaming plan and giving tax credits to businesses that hire inner city youth.

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state has established a fairer personal income tax code system, lowering taxes for all middle class New Yorkers.The tax rate for middle class taxpayers will be at the lowest level since 1953. The tax changes enacted in the special session also eliminate the MTA payroll tax for over 700,000 taxpayers who own small businesses or make less than $50,000 a year in self-employed income.Combined the two changes save middle class New Yorkers over $900 million a year.

In addition, the programs launched a new round of flood relief, including a $50 million grant program and job retention tax credit for businesses impacted by the damage done through Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

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Consolidating local governments

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With more than 10,500 overlapping governments, including counties, towns, villages, school districts, special districts and public authorities, Andrew engineered a bold new plan to empower communities across the state with the ability to fundamentally reorganize and consolidate local governments. After working with various stakeholders around New York, he built bipartisan support for the New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act and helped get it signed into law. As a result, local communities finally have the ability to help control local government expenses and can bring down property taxes.

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Standing Up to Corruption in Government

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  • Andrew’s investigation of the New York State pension fund exposed rampant pay-to-play corruption and has led to a number of criminal charges to date while setting a new standard of ethics – the Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct – that is changing the way public pension funds do business nationwide
  • Andrew also introduced legislation that would institutionalize that code in order to eliminate pay-to-play campaign contributions and the use of intermediaries to sell access to public investment funds. The legislation would replace the sole trustee at the New York State Common Retirement Fund with a board of trustees.

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Improving Insurance Reimbursement Payments to Patients

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  • Andrew’s industry-wide investigation of the health care reimbursement system exposed a scheme to defraud consumers and manipulate reimbursement rates by Ingenix, the nation’s largest provider of health care billing information. Most major health insurance companies used Ingenix’s defective database to set out-of-network reimbursement rates, including two who used the data to dramatically under-reimburse their members’ health care expenses.  These investigations led to massive reform of the consumer reimbursement system for out-of-network health care charges.
  • A new not-for-profit company, FAIR Health, Inc., and an upstate research network headquartered at Syracuse University will develop a new independent database for consumer reimbursement and a new website where, for the first time, consumers can compare prices before they choose their doctors.

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Protecting Students from Abusive and Dishonest Lenders

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  • Andrew exposed the industry-wide abuses that were being committed by the student loan industry, developed fixes for them and then brought cases aimed at pressuring the industry to change.  By the time he was done, he had developed a College Loan Code of Conduct that has been widely adopted by lenders and universities, and established a fund that has contributed $13.7 million to assisting students and families with the financial aid process. 
  • He also worked with lawmakers in Albany to pass legislation that eventually became a model for a nationwide law.  The legislation protects students’ rights and stopped lenders and schools from putting their profits ahead of student interests.

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Expanding Openness and Transparency in Government

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Andrew launched Project Sunlight in an effort to make it easier for New Yorkers to monitor governmental decision-making. This website -- the first of its kind in New York State -- allows citizens to easily access statewide government information that until now has been scattered and difficult to retrieve. By providing unparalleled access to information on campaign finance, lobbying and state contracts, Project Sunlight puts the power to hold government accountable in New Yorkers' hands.

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Recovering Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Lost to Medicaid Fraud

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  • Andrew has protected millions of patients by aggressively exposing and taking on health care fraud and abuse, promoting efficiency in the health care system, and lowering costs for New Yorkers.
  • Andrew’s crackdown on Medicaid fraud has recovered more than $263 million and resulted in nearly 150 convictions in 2008 alone. These efforts are why Cuomo’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was named the top Medicaid fraud control unit in the country.

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Cracking Down on Corporate Greed and Corruption

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  • When AIG executives received huge bonuses from the $700 billion federal bailout fund, Andrew demanded that AIG recover those bonuses and he successfully slashed other executive perks. To date, AIG employees have agreed to return approximately $50 million in bonuses.
  • Andrew also forced salary disclosures from nine of the largest financial institutions receiving federal aid. 
  • Taking on further corruption on Wall Street, Andrew took action against a misleading bank accounting practice that resulted in a recovery of $50 billion.

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Leading the Fight to Keep Our Children Safe Online

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  • Andrew drafted and led the fight to pass the most comprehensive online sex offender law in the nation in 2008. The legislation, known as "e-STOP," requires convicted sex offenders to reveal their email addresses and online identities so that they can be screened and blocked. To date, thousands of predators have been removed from MySpace, Facebook and a growing list of websites frequently visited by our children. 
  • Andrew also cracked down on Internet crimes by aggressively prosecuting offenders and partnering with the country’s top Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including AT&T and Verizon as well as smaller, regional-based ISPs, to shut down major sources of online child pornography.

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HUD - Turning Around a Troubled Agency

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  • As HUD secretary, Andrew Cuomo launched a top-to-bottom reinvention of the troubled agency.  Andrew’s management efforts brought HUD off the GAO’s high risk list, won prestigious prizes for innovation, and received bipartisan praise for turning around a crucial federal department.
  • Andrew’s management reforms made the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) the healthiest it had been in decades.  By 2000, after years of running a deficit, FHA was in the black, and poised to return almost $20 billion a year to the Federal treasury.

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HELP - Taking on Homelessness in a new way

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  • At the height of New York’s homelessness crisis, Andrew Cuomo’s Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (HELP) took an innovative approach to this enormous challenge – forging public-private partnerships to successfully provide thousands of homeless families with the opportunity to experience real home life.
  • Thanks to Andrew’s leadership, HELP launched Project Samaritan, a creative new program to assist homeless individuals struggling with HIV/AIDS or substance abuse. Project Samaritan quickly became a groundbreaking model for future attempts to address the serious health challenges related to homelessness.

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