Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address Wednesday, laying out his agenda for 2018. In short, the agenda is ambitious, putting him at odds with some very powerful groups in the state and nationally.
As is usually the case in these start-of-year speeches, there were few details about most of the proposals. Those details, and their potential impact on the state, will be fleshed out as the governor and the Legislature go through the budget process.
However, a lack of details doesn’t preclude some early impressions of his plan.
Several proposals he laid out are definitely encouraging:
- A uniform sexual harassment policy for all state and local officials.
- A requirement for disclosure of groups paying for online political ads.
- The implementation of early voting and changes to voter registration.
- Increasing clean energy efforts.
- Term limits for state elected officials.
For other proposals—including those for education, economic development, and infrastructure—how much they help the state will depend on the details and how much they cost.
Then there are the proposals that will be very contentious.
A plan to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers will likely lead to a fight with the restaurant industry and debate over whether it will help or hurt those very workers.
A plan to force anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime to surrender any firearms will raise the ire of gun-rights groups who are still angry about the passage of the SAFE Act five years ago.
He also announced plans to engage in two lawsuits. One is with the federal government over the recent Republican tax reform, which he calls an unconstitutional assault on state’s rights. The other is with pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic, as New York will join the growing list of states looking to hold them accountable for the growing problem.
How much of Cuomo’s agenda actually comes to pass—and what impact it might have—won’t be known for months, but it was certainly a showy start to the year.