Click HERE to see the Chairman's op-ed as it originally appeared in the New York Post.
On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo announced a key part of his plan for his second six months in office: a $10 million ad campaign aimed at "business leaders across the world."
Sorry: That's not delivering on the governor's extensive unfinished agenda. With Cuomo's end-of-session focus on marriage, major issues crucial to New York's fiscal and economic recovery wound up receiving at best cursory treatment.
As Cuomo himself noted in demurring last week to vice-presidential speculation, "We're literally hemorrhaging people from our borders right now."
Once you factor in our higher cost of living, New York families are among America's poorest. As the state with the heaviest tax burden and the least economic freedom, New York ranks at the top in the export of jobs and productive citizens.
Yes, the governor won widespread praise for his first budget and legislative successes. But in his campaign, he pledged a fiscally responsible, job-creating government -- and key changes are yet to come.
Local government-mandate relief, reform of government pensions and benefits, job-creating tax reform and education reform are only some of the politically difficult matters requiring Albany's attention.
Driven by state and federal mandates, which can eat up 85 percent or more of a county budget, New York property taxes are double the national average.
Yes, the governor joined Senate Republicans in passing one of the country's strongest property-tax caps. But relief from state mandates addresses the majorcauseof high local property taxes.
The Medicaid mandate is by far the most onerous. Letting counties structure their own Medicaid programs or capping counties' Medicaid obligations would unite funding and program responsibilities -- reducing costs and improving services for the nation's most expensive Medicaid program.
Cuomo said last week that public-pension reform will be his top goal for next year. Given the unions' power, meaningful reforms will be difficult to enact. To set an example and end the connection between longevity in office and pension benefits, a first step could be adopting defined-contribution plans (in line with private-sector pensions) for future elected and appointed officials.
Also vital is to selectively and intelligently reduce taxes affecting businesses and job creation -- so that New York can stop being America's No. 1 exporter of jobs and people. The days of assuming that America's most productive people will come here, despite our tax and regulatory schemes, ended long ago.
Then there's school reform -- which is not just an economic imperative, but also a matter of social justice. New York spends top dollar on K-through-12 education, but gets mediocre results. That's especially true in our inner cities, where access to a good education has become the civil-rights issue of our time.
Key reforms include fostering more effective charter schools, merit pay for teachers, more aid to parochial schools and the elimination of stultifying laws such as "Last in first out" for teacher layoffs. Can Cuomo end Assembly Democrats' resistance on these fronts?
Some of New York's decay is purely physical -- with the decrepit Tappan Zee Bridge as the poster child. Albany needs to promote public-private partnerships to repair and modernize our aging infrastructure -- and breathe life into the stagnant construction industry.
New York is falling behind competitive states in the Midwest, where GOP governors and legislatures have used their political capital to improve the fiscal and business climate and attract jobs. These states not only erased large budget deficits without raising taxes, but also often went the rest of the way -- reforming government-worker pensions and benefits (and even the related labor-negotiation laws), cutting taxes for business investment and enacting far-reaching school reforms.
Albany faces a daunting political agenda of leftover matters. As the chief executive officer of this blue state, Cuomo must focus on New York's government-driven economic problems and use all his vaunted political skills and carefully preserved political capital just to keep New York competitive and stop the hemorrhaging of jobs and citizens.
Ed Cox is New York state GOP chairman.