My goal for years has been to convince legislative leaders to reform state government, reduce out of control property taxes and help grow private sector jobs.
The urgency of accomplishing those goals has never been more pressing. During the past decade, New York lost more than 1 million people to other states and led the nation in highest property taxes and worst business tax climate.
Yet, as taxes skyrocketed and jobs and people fled New York, we were told by Albany’s “Tri-ocracy” of “Three Men in a Room”: former governors, assembly speaker and Senate majority leader to “wait till next year” for reform.
In 2011, reform of state government finally began and “next year” became “this year.”
First, our new Gov. Andrew Cuomo was able to marshal all his resources to persuade a recalcitrant legislature to go along with his agenda.
Second, after years of over-taxing, over-spending and over-borrowing, the Legislature realized what I, and many of my Republican colleagues have long argued – the state is broke and the right choice is to pursue fiscal reform.
Back in January, I advised that to be successful, the governor needed to “speak softly, but carry a big stick.”
That big stick is the support of his agenda by the voters and taxpayers of New York State – and that’s exactly what Gov. Cuomo did.
As I said previously, New York doesn’t need a Superman as Chief Executive: it needs a Solomon. We remember one of our recent governors who thought he was the Man of Steel and would steamroll anyone who got in his way – and he ran into Kryptonite with the likes of the New York State Legislature by picking a fight at every chance.
Gov. Cuomo was wise enough to understand that one should never pick a fight but be ready to stand up to the Legislature when necessary but also use reason and thoughtful persuasion to convince them to go along with his agenda.