Excerpts from the State
of the State Address - January 8, 2003
Key Business Issues Addressed by Governor Pataki
Tax Cuts/Job Creation – Even in these difficult times, there is a confidence that New York will persevere and will stay on a path to job growth. That is why the budget I propose will not delay the tax cuts we've already passed. It will, in fact, add new targeted tax incentives to attract additional investment and good, high-tech jobs.
And over the past eight years, together, we have fought for every job and created hundreds of thousands of new ones. Let's make sure that what we say at home is what we do in Albany. Let's not say we are going to fight to create jobs and then come to Albany and vote to raise job-killing taxes. It's a choice between the two. We must choose jobs....While other states raise taxes, let us out-compete any state and continue to create new jobs by maintaining New York's eight-year record as the tax-cutting capital of America.
2003-04 Budget/Spending Restraint – The budget plan I will put forward in three weeks will spend less money than we did last year. With the exception of public security, no segment of the budget will be exempt.
Unlike the deficits of the past that resulted from poor policies, today's crisis is a result of the horrible attacks of September 11th, exacerbated by the national recession and the unique difficulties of the financial industry so critical to New York's economy...As a result, we simply must spend less money. It is what we did in 1995 and in 1996. There were dire predictions then, but our finances soon improved, and our economy boomed . . .We'll look to privatize certain State assets, take advantage of low-interest rates by refinancing State bonds to reduce debt service costs, and continue our reform efforts to lower the cost of Medicaid and other government programs.
We will look to utilize other available funds, such as tobacco settlement funds and other resources, to help close the shortfall the State will be facing. The use of these funds will allow us to make the necessary spending reductions in a reasoned and responsible fashion.
High Technology – Today I am proud to announce that AMD, in partnership with IBM, will launch an advanced chip development venture in the Hudson Valley – making an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and creating good, high-tech jobs. AMD is coming to New York because we are making New York State the home of high technology.
But we need to continue our momentum . . . Therefore, we are moving forward with additional Centers of Excellence -- in Westchester with leading research institutions like New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell and Columbia universities, New York Medical College, and companies like IBM and GE, focused on biotech....And in New York City, with Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia, NYU and other medical research institutions, to build on the biotech industry and academic strengths there.
We must build on the other high-tech and biotech investments we have made -- in our STAR Centers, our Advanced Research Centers and our Centers for Advanced Technology -- in places like Alfred, Binghamton, Potsdam and Ithaca, and throughout our Empire State High Tech Corridor.
Education – Last session, we made historic reforms to the New York City school system, putting control and accountability for the City schools where they belong -- with the Mayor. This year we should also give the Mayors of our other urban centers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany more input and a greater voice in their school systems.
And as we make the largest school systems more accountable, we must demand the same accountability from the state's education bureaucracy. This year, I will advance sweeping reforms to governance of our schools statewide, by reforming the way our State Board of Regents is chosen. We must make our statewide education system more accountable to parents and their children.
And as we make reforms, let us also refocus the mission of the State Education Department on its primary goal -- educating our students so they can meet our standards and compete in the 21st century economy . . . let's let the Department of State deal with the testing and licensing of these and nearly 40 other unrelated professions – not the Department of Education. Let's let them concentrate on the education of our children.
And while we have made good progress by addressing the teacher shortage, today we must continue to look toward the future. Today, I urge the creation of the finest urban centers in the nation to train the next generation of teachers, to transform the Richardson complex in Buffalo into the premier urban training center for teachers in the 21st Century in partnership with Buffalo State College and the people of Western New York.
And with Mayor Bloomberg and CUNY, we will work to achieve a similar transformation of Governors Island, to make these historic facilities beacons of educational excellence. Let's turn these crumbling vestiges of the past into a shining example of hope, opportunity and leadership for the future.
- In the coming months, I will once again put forth a comprehensive campaign finance reform bill to change a process that has gotten out of hand and needs to be reformed. We all agree that it needs to happen. Let's get it done.
- Let's continue New York's national leadership in health care by strengthening and renewing HCRA.
- Let's reform and refinance the Superfund and let's work to reduce greenhouse gases by adopting the carbon dioxide emission standards for motor vehicles which were recently proposed by the State of California.
- We can also make New York a national leader in renewable energy usage. I am directing the Public Service Commission to implement a Renewable Portfolio Standard a program which will guarantee that within the next 10 years at least 25 percent of the electricity bought in New York will come from renewable energy resources like solar power, wind power, or fuel cells.
- I urge this body to build on the progress we've already made by passing additional anti-terror measures developed in conjunction with Attorney General Spitzer. We must abolish the statute of limitations for all terrorist crimes, and change the penalty for anyone caught in possession of chemical or biological weapons to life in prison without parole.