ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to deliver an election-year State of the State address touting tax breaks and economic successes.
The annual speech Wednesday marks the start of the legislative season in Albany and Cuomo has used the days leading up to the speech to preview some policy proposals. Cuomo is seeking a second term this year and the speech gives him a high-profile forum to promote his first three years while unveiling an agenda with individual items that will please both social progressives and financial conservatives.
The governor this week gave an early look at a sweeping $2 billion tax relief proposal that includes property tax rebates for homeowners in municipalities that meet tax thresholds and a cut in corporate tax rates. The proposal would provide relief to both businesses and homeowners in highly taxed suburban areas around New York City.
Cuomo has said economic development, taxes and government reform are top issues, and he stressed that theme as he promoted his tax proposal.
"Over the past three years, we have made unprecedented progress toward curbing the rise of taxes and government spending in New York, transforming a state budget with a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus," Cuomo said.
Cuomo also is expected to reveal new details of his plan to allow 20 hospitals statewide to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer and some other severe ailments. Cuomo's medical marijuana plan will be enacted by executive order, not legislation, and will be more restrictive than programs in some other states like California.
The limited plan was greeted by some in Cuomo's Democratic base, though advocates want a more sweeping legalization of marijuana.
An added wrinkle this year is the new, liberal mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, who is expected to attend Cuomo's speech. De Blasio's signature campaign promise is funding universal pre-kindergarten programs with a tax increase on the wealthy. Cuomo is focused on cutting taxes.
Cuomo will have to shepherd his legislative proposals through a Legislature that remains in split control. The Assembly's Democratic majority has already called for another state minimum wage hike, mirroring Democrats around the nation backing the populist issue.
Republicans who rule the state Senate in a coalition with breakaway Democrats have said their priority is a tax-cut package that includes corporate tax rate reductions and permanently capping property taxes.