Albany, NY (WIBX) - New York State cannot close its $10-billion budget gap through simple cuts. Instead, Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for a transformation of the way the government and the economy operate.

During his first State of the State Address, Cuomo called for a statewide property tax cap along with mandate relief, which includes redesigning what he called the dysfunctional medicaid program.

The Governor says he will incentivize education and economic development funding, and offer consolidation bonuses for communities who merge governments or share services. Fifty-percent of 'bonus' money would go directly toward lowering property taxes in those communities, he said.

He also said economic development objectives would be created and developed by representatives of those regions of the state.

His 'Clean Up Albany' ethics reform plan includes full disclosure of all outside income, ending pay to play, and publicly funded campaigns. He also called for passage of a marriage equality bill.

Cuomo was positive and upbeat about the future of New York during his address, evening cracking jokes and using a graphics on a power point presentation screen.

In it, he compared the budget process to three "ships passing in the night." One ship was his, another belonged to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the other to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Then a graphic appeared of an airplane shooting missiles at Cuomo's ship. That plane, he said, was the special interest groups.

The state's dpeartments, agencies, institutes, task forces and committees will be examined by a soon to be formed Spending and Government Efficiency Committee (SAGE.)

Beginning on Friday, the governor's mandate relief team will begin meeting to come up with solutions to lift the burden from local governments. It's report will be due by the April 1st state budget deadline.

Statistics from Cuomo's Speech

  • 800,000 New Yorkers are currently unemployed
  • New York's taxes are 66% higher than the national average
  • From 1994-2009, the rate of inflation averaged 2.7% per year, while medicaid grew 5% per year and education spending was up an average of 6% each year
  • The projected budget deficit is $10-billion this year, $14-billion next year and %17-billion in 2013