By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge – Republican lawmakers sitting in the audience listening to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “State of the State” Address said they came away with mixed feelings about the big speech.
While he praised Cuomo’s “bold vision” for New York State, state Sen. Marty Golden said he was more surprised by what he didn’t hear in the address the governor delivered in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany on Jan. 4.
The speech was short on specifics on how to fight crime, according to Golden.
“As a former New York City police officer, I am disappointed by the governor’s failure to focus on an agenda to keep New York’s citizens and families safe. One of the most basic fundamentals New Yorkers must enjoy is a safe state in which to live, work and raise a family. We can’t ignore the fact that there are areas of criminal justice that must be addressed,” Golden said.
Golden, who has frequently spoken out about the need to fight fraud, said Cuomo did not address these concerns.
“The governor also failed to mention efforts to eliminate Medicaid and auto insurance fraud in our state,” a disappointed Golden said. “The longer we allow such acts of fraud to continue, the longer we will suffer financially as a government and as consumers. This must be the year that we bring about changes that reduce opportunities for fraud and abuse at these levels.”
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis applauded what she called Cuomo’s pro-business stand.
“The governor has made it a priority to send a signal to the global economy that New York is open for business and I wholeheartedly agree that such measures must be the main focus of the 2012 legislative session,” Malliotakis said. “I support the governor’s plans to fund economic development, expand emergency management, cut government bureaucracy and bolster tourism because, as the governor said, New York is strongest when every region of New York is strong.”
Malliotakis added, however, that high tolls on the Verrazano and other bridges hurt residents and stunt economic growth.
“We cannot welcome jobs or economic prosperity back into our community while paying the highest bridge tolls in the nation and struggling with overregulation from agencies like the Department of Environmental Conservation,” she said.
Malliotakis also said she was “taken aback” by Cuomo’s proposals on campaign finance.
The governor told the state legislature, “I’m going to be sending you a bill on campaign finance reform that puts public financing, matched contributions, lower limits and increased enforcement at the Board of Elections.”
At the end of his address, the governor said, “Let’s have elections that New Yorkers can be proud of also. Let’s have campaign finance reform and let’s do it this year.”
Malliotakis blasted his idea.
“Facing a $3 billion budget deficit, the concept of using taxpayer dollars to finance campaigns is completely absurd and out of touch with reality,” she said. “How can we expect to close the budget gap if we’re increasing spending to support political campaigns? This is an outrageous proposal that works against our attempts to create jobs by limiting unnecessary state spending, and I am completely against any of use taxpayer dollars for such purposes.”