Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent cabinet members across New York on Monday to share the details of last week’s 2012 address. Courtney Burke, commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, spoke to members of the New City Rotary Club at in New City and staff and guests at TECH in New Hempstead about the goal of “Building a New New York.”
Burke noted the governor launched a new economic development policy that includes a campaign to welcome business back to the state and passage of an affordable energy policy. She reviewed Cuomo’s first year accomplishments that included a new tax code and noted the overall goal is to build a government performs better but costs less.
“It was really a successful year,” she said, adding that with the governor accomplishing so much of what he set out to do raises the bar for the department commissioners.
She spoke about the plans to attract more tourist dollars with new convention center plans. Although tourists spent $50 billion in New York in 2010, the state is losing out to other locales with larger convention centers.
“We need to have the largest convention center,” she said. “We need to invest in the convention center.”
Burke talked about the NY Works Fund & Task Force, which plans to improve 100 bridges, repair 2,000 miles of roadway and upgrade 90 municipal water systems.
Part of the presentation dealt with the state’s finance situation, closing the $2 billion deficit without imposing new taxes or fees and addressing mandate relief. Burke said the governor would hold public hearings on mandate relief across the state. Rotary members asked questions about medicaid costs and spoke about funding for school districts.
After her presentation at Jawonio, Burke answered questions regarding health care.
"Her overview of the Governor's state of the state allowed the people in our local community along with our sister agencies a chance to review the Governor's proposal up close and personal," said Diana Hess, Jawonio, chief communications officer. "We were especially pleased that Commissioner Burke took questions for over 40 minutes focusing on the areas of most concern to us as disability services providers. She responded to each question individually, listened intently and responded that we can count on her as our advocate in this challenging and rapidly changing health care services delivery environment."
Other objectives include helping families with children get sufficient food and tax reform. Burke said one in six children in New York lives without enough food and the governor hopes to remove the stigma of applying for food stamps. Helping small business and closing tax loopholes are also on the governor’s agenda.
Nine commissioners fanned out across the state to help deliver the messages contained in the speech. Community Renewal Commissioner and CEO Darryl Towns spoke at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City; Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles Barbara Fiala spoke in Binghamton; Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Leecia Eve spoke in Jamestown; Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky was in Oakdale; President and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation Kenneth Adams visited Schenectady County Community College and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce; Commissioner of the Office of General Services RoAnn Destito spoke in Amsterdam; President of the Environmental Facilities Corporation Matthew Driscoll was in Fulton and Deputy Secretary for Local Government at the Department of State Dede Scozzafava spoke at Clarkson University.