A new year means a new state legislative session, and the 2016 edition kicks off in earnest with the state budget to be proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of his State of the State address on Jan. 13.
Our wish list is long. It focuses on homelessness, transportation, and ethics reform. But the biggest item on our wish list for NYC goes beyond that: The state must stand with the city and show that personal differences won’t play a role in state budget and policy decision-making.
For the last year, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have argued over just about everything, from the mayor’s efforts to expand pre-K and his desire for permanent control of the schools to the governor’s criticisms of de Blasio’s handling of the city’s homeless crisis. It’s far past time for the heated rhetoric of the summer and fall to end. We hope that cooler heads will prevail, so that Albany can work for the good of the city. Among our other wishes:
- Ban outside income for legislators, raise their salaries, and make their jobs full time. Start public campaign financing; close the LLC loophole in campaign finance rules; ban the use of campaign contributions for the legal defense funds of elected officials; establish term limits; and strip pensions from public officials convicted of corruption.
- Adopt some version of the innovative Move NY tolling-and-congestion pricing plan that would toll East River bridges, reduce tolls on other bridges, and charge people to drive into midtown Manhattan.
- Pass legislation setting statewide standards for Airbnb, Uber and other services. It should recognize technology is changing business patterns. It also should regulate practices, set requirements for licenses, insurance and taxes, and eliminate the likelihood of a hodgepodge of counterproductive local regulations.
- Fight growing homelessness by financing the construction of supportive housing that combines housing with services. The state must match de Blasio’s effort on this.
A new year is a time for optimism and fresh beginnings. So let’s get this done, and help both the city and the state fulfill their potential.