Click HERE to see the Chairman's op-ed as it originally appeared in Crain's New York Business.
In a commanding performance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo opted for a new venue (Albany's Convention Center versus the traditional Assembly Chamber), an unprecedented format (Senate Republican Leader Skelos and Assembly Speaker Silver also spoke) and the first ever use of a PowerPoint slideshow (a battleship Cuomo attacked by a plane labeled Special Interests) to deliver his inaugural state of the state presentation last week, in which he voiced the common concern of New York business that “New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation” and pledged “no new taxes.” Mr. Cuomo wears our fiscally conservative Republican clothes well.
While the governor and the Republican Senate majority share the political will to resolve our state's $10 billion deficit by cutting only out-of-control spending, history tells us that the Democrat's power base in the Assembly will insist on tax and fee hikes as well.
But New Yorkers have already told us what they want. For the past two years, one-party Democratic rule in Albany, driven by the Assembly and special interests, has increased spending, taxes and fees with each budget, imposing new burdens on an already hard-pressed electorate.
Voters responded at the ballot box. In the 2009 and 2010 elections—both contested in a toxic political atmosphere of high unemployment, reduced home values and unprecedented federal, state and local government deficits—New York elected fiscally responsible, pro-growth Republicans at all levels of government. The success of Republican candidates in the 2009 county elections in some of the nation's highest-taxed counties brought 13 of the 17 major counties outside New York City under Republican leadership. Subsequently, the very fiscally conservative Democratic executive of Suffolk County, feeling that his party had left him, became a 14th Republican county leader.
In the 2010 elections, victories of fiscally conservative candidates gave Republicans a new pro-growth, anti-spending and tax-cutting majority in the state Senate. Our seven new state senators and 17 new Assembly members are a strong force for fiscal sanity in Albany and a formidable Republican bench for future races at all levels of government.
The field of battle is set. If Mr. Cuomo leads using New York's uniquely strong executive budget powers, he will have with him a revitalized and strong Republican force led by our Senate majority. New Yorkers will benefit from bipartisanship at its best.
By allying with Mr. Cuomo to win legislative victories for real pro-growth policies, Republicans will earn the support given us on faith by voters and will continue to strengthen, even in this most Democratic of states. It will mean a brighter future for our children, while demonstrating to voters that Republican principles are the key to prosperity.
Ed Cox is New York Republican Party chairman.