ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/CBSNewYork) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on the job.
Cuomo held a small inaugural ceremony Saturday followed by a reception line at the governor’s mansion for New Yorkers who obtained tickets a week ago.
“There is no more time to waste. It is a time for deeds, not words and results, not rhetoric,” Cuomo said. “It is time for a bold agenda and immediate action.”
Cuomo said that reform in Albany must happen immediately, and that it will need to begin with the economy.
“The words ‘government in Albany’ have become a national punchline, and the joke is on us,” Cuomo said.
“Our expectation is that the politicians and the elected officials of people are now going to do what the people voted for and what the people need. It starts with jobs, jobs, jobs.”
On Saturday, Cuomo said he will seek to allow a temporary income tax on the wealthy to sunset, and enforce 900 layoffs opposed by some of New York’s strongest special interests.
“This state has no future if it is going to be the tax capital of the nation,” he said.
The state’s powerful public workers unions have strongly opposed the layoffs ordered by former Democratic Gov. David Paterson. Paterson had ordered the layoffs after he said union leaders refused to contribute $250 million in concessions in the face of New York’s fiscal crisis.
Promoted by Democrats as a “millionaire’s tax,” the temporary income tax surcharge takes a bigger bite out of New Yorkers making as little as $200,000 a year. The tax raises more than $1 billion annually.
On the day of his inauguration, Cuomo also said the layoffs that began on Saturday will be executed, after weeks of refusing to say if he would continue Paterson’s order.
Cuomo also held a private meeting with his cabinet at 8:30 a.m. in a public schedule choreographed to show resolve to tackle the state’s fiscal and ethical crises.
“My grey hairs are multiplying just thinking about what we have to do,” he said.
Cuomo’s most critical audience will be the Legislature, which has the power to block elements of his budget proposals, the spending cuts and cap on the growth in property taxes that he promises, and legislation.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, the former Rochester mayor and Cuomo’s running mate, urged an end to the “toxic” political environment around the nation that can derail the best of plans. He said the cabinet meeting was productive in planning to change the image of New York for business.
The state is facing a deficit of as much as $1 billion and a projected deficit of about $10 billion in the budget due April 1.
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