3:35 p.m. And we’re out. One hour and eighteen minutes.

3:34 p.m. “The state of New York State is that New York State is rising….with a passion and a commitment to make this state better than it has ever been, with a better future than it has ever had. ”

3:33 p.m. Final message from the governor: We’re all New Yorkers, united and one. “Somos uno…that is New York at its best. That is New York at its potential. That is New York fulfilling the dream.”

Name checks the Statue of Liberty. It’s an oblique reference to immigration?

3:31 p.m. Really into it, now, shouting: “No one needs an assault rifle. No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer…make this state safer! Save lives! Set an example for the rest of the nation! …This is New York, the progressive capitol! You show them how we lead!”

3:30 p.m. Cuomo: “In closing, what is the state of the state? We have work to do…the agenda we lay out today is clearly the most ambitious agenda that I have outlined in three State of the States.”

“..It’s more of a function of the need of the times…It’s a lot of work. But they elect us to lead, my friends. And we will. They elect us to perform, and we will. We have proven that we can lead, and we have proven that we can perform.”

3:27 p.m. Cuomo on a tear about how little time it took for the federal government to respond with aid to areas that have been hit by natural disasters.

By comparison, 68 days later Congress appropriated the $9 billion for New York – a mere fraction of the $60.4 billion the president sought – “this is day 73 and still counting, that is not acceptable my friends.”

“…Remember New York because New York will not forget, I promise you.”

3:24 p.m. Cuomo asks members of the New York congressional delegation to stand and be recognized.

Only six of them are in the audience (that I can see): Pete King (the lone Republican), two newbies – Grace Meng and Sean Patrick Maloney – Jerry Nadler, Paul Tonko, and Jose Serrano.

3:22 p.m. Establish a statewide volunteer corps who will receive “light training” and then be deployed when disaster hits.

Citizen-education campaign to prepare people to be “in-home first responders.”

“Superstorm Sandy was the largest storm to hit the northeast in recorded history. We need and we deserve federal assistance.”

3:20 p.m. LIPA “never worked, it never will” – wonder what former Gov. Cuomo thinks about that. Privatize it, five-year rate freeze and restructure the debt.

3:19 p.m. In case you’re wonder, we have officially passed the one-hour mark.

3:17 p.m. Hurricane Sandy. “Let’s start by learning form what has happened…climate change is real. It is denial to say: These situations happen once in a lifetime.”

Lower regional greenhouse gas emission cap. Reduce the Co2 cap. Also increase use of local renewable power sources.

Proposes the Recreate NY-Smart Home program – to build homes “right” and mitigate for the next disaster. “I’d rather pay more and put a house on pilings today than rebuild that home three times.”

For those who choose not to rebuild and want to move to higher ground – literally – there’s a Recreate NY-Home Buyout program.

3:14 p.m. Financial Restructuring Assistance Program: Comptroller, Budget Division, AG, private financial restructuring consultants to help local governments facing fiscal difficulties.

Because there is no one size fits all plan to address the various problems being faced at the local level, Cuomo says.

3:12 p.m. On campaign finance reform. “I want to propose the Disclose New York Plan – the nation’s most aggressive disclosure law, period.” Disclose all contributions within 48 hours. Period.

This would apply to everything – 501(c)4s, PACs, party committees etc.

Creation of a public campaign finance system and lower the contribution limits for all campaigns, parties, accounts etc.

3:10 p.m. Another multi-point agenda, this time on guns, which starts off on enacting the “toughest assault weapons ban in the nation.”

New York was the first in the nation to have a handgun law in 1911, Cuomo says. It should “once again lead the nation in saving lives.”

3:09 p.m. On gun violence: “We must stop the madness, my friends. And in one word, enough. It has been enough…this is not taking away people’s guns. I own a gun. I own a Remington shotgun…That is not what this is about.”

3:08 p.m. Cuomo reveals that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and mother, Matilda, have 14 grandchildren, all but one of whom are girls. So protecting women’s rights is especially important to the Cuomo family.

3:06 p.m. VIDEO BREAK. Small babies in a nursery – one boy, one girl – to illustrate gender pay inequity/women’s issues. “It’s time for a Women’s Equality Act.”

Big cheers and applause from the women in the audience. Sorry, I stand corrected. It’s a standing ovation, of which there have not been many so far in this speech.

“We passed marriage equality, let’s make history again and pass a Women’s Equality Act in the State of New York.”

It’s a 10-point agenda. When he gets to the part about preserving abortion rights in New York, Cuomo says – not once, but three times – “Because it’s her body, it’s her choice.”

3:05 p.m. A new $1 billion affordable housing program to produce or preserve over 14,000 units over the next five years. HOUSE NY. (Cuomo notes he has been involved in affordable housing for much of his career).

3:04 p.m. Marijuana decriminalization in connection with the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy – a big deal for downstate lawmakers, particularly the black and Latino members.

This is something the governor sought late-ish in the game last year. The Senate Republicans balked.

3:02 p.m. Minimum wage hike. “We must remain the progressive capital of the nation.” Quotes TR about the need for wages that support the cost of living.

“My friends it does not add up.” Big applause from the crowd.

“Nineteen other states have raised the minimum wage, we propose raising the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour…it’s the right thing to do…we should have done it last year, let’s do it this year.”

NOTE: The governor makes NO MENTION of indexing, which is going to make advocates on the left unhappy.

BUT, what he’s proposing is higher than the $8.50 an hour the Assembly has been pushing. The current wage is $7.25.

2:59 p.m. Round III of SUNY2020, expand to CUNY.

2:57 p.m. “We must pay for performance and incentivize high-performing teachers…If you want teachers to do better, incentivize…not every teacher gets paid the same no matter what happens.”

2:50 p.m. Cuomo is now on to the education portion of his speech, embracing his reform commissions proposal on either a longer school day or a longer year – either via less summer vacation or fewer vacations during the year.

“These are big decisions,” Cuomo says. “They impact families and neighborhoods”

Districts that are willing to do this will have 100 percent !! of the cost picked up by the state.

And also: Early education. “It makes a difference,” the governor says. Currently universal pre-K is only provided by 67 percent of districts and only on average 2.5 hours.

We will expand the program to full day pre-K 5 hours starting in the lowest income districts.

Overhaul teaching training and implement a “bar exam-type test” that every teacher must pass before they enter the classroom. (This was also in the commission report released last week).

2:50 p.m. Three casinos in New York – NONE in NYC. Why? Because the governor wants people to go upstate.

(Odd, Bob Bellafiore notes that the constitutional amendment calls for SEVEN casinos – what happened to the other four?)

Cuomo suggests a split of 90 percent of the casino revenue for education, 10 percent for local tax relief.

Sorry Bill Samuels and Sen. Liz Krueger, no casino cash for a publicly funded campaign finance system.


This time between companies that want to operate these likely very lucrative casinos. But, the governor wants to keep politics out of it. And he wants local communities to have a say if they want to play host to a casino or not.

2:48 p.m. “Destination resort casinos.”

Those who say New York is not in the casino business, but rather the racino business are “in a state of denial…We have backed into the casino business through the name of the racino business. We now have 17 facilities across the state operating, holding themselves out as casinos.”

2:43 p.m. Another competition – this time $5 million annually for the best regional marketing plans.

Also: Marketing campaigns around special events. “I believe if they see upstate New York, they will come back. But we need to make that introduction.”

Cuomo singles out the balloon festival in Glens Falls and then urges the audience to clap: “Don’t let Betty (Sen. Little) be the only one to clap for Glens Falls.”

There’s going to be an Adirondack Whitewater challenge, Cuomo says. JOKE ALERT: There will be a political division that pits top administration aides against one another.

“All rafters must paddle. No freeloaders. This is not government.”

The first challenge will be the executive to the Assembly challenge. And there’s a little raft with “avid outdoorsman” Shelly Silver as the team captain.

And then there’s a raft with IDC head Jeff Klein and Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos in the same boat: “You have to paddle in the same direction, guys.”

2:41 p.m. On to the “sad” reality of the upstate economy and the need to address it.

Currently there’s no real marketing plan for upstate. Cuomo wants to change that. 1) coordinated plan around NY products: Wine, beer and yogurt. A “taste of New York” program will “aggressively market” these products.

Duty-free stores all across the state will promote NY grown and produced products.

(The governor initially said this program would be implemented “all across the nation” WOOPS! You’re not president yet, sir! He recovered well, though, saying that next year, he’ll be expanding the program to be national).

2:39 p.m. A brief section on energy and the environment.

Cuomo proposes a “green bank” and solar jobs program. We want to invest in an “electric car network” to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.

There will be a cabinet-level energy czar post, Richard Kauffman, former senior advisory to the US Secretary of Energy Steve Chu.

“He’s leaving Washington; he’s coming to New York, we couldn’t have a better man leading out efforts in the country.”

2:37 p.m. We propose a reform of the worker’s comp program and the unemployment insurance program to end borrowing to pay benefits – “will reduce cost to business and increase benefits for workers for the first time since 1999,” saving over $1 billion.

2:35 p.m. New York only gets 4 percent of the nation’s venture capital; California gets 47 percent…we’re not making the transference of research to commercialization. “That gap is what we have to fix, and what we have to fill.”

Solution: Incubation hot spots – a tax-free zone. This is apparently going to a competition – something Cuomo likes a lot – with five winners this year, and five winners next year.

2:32 p.m. “No new taxes…signaled a new day in New York, and we must do it again: No new taxes in the New New York.”

2:30 p.m. With a slide of the proposed new Tappan Zee Bridge on the screen behind him – the same one that graces the front of the printed version of his speech, Cuomo says:

“We are building a new Tappan Zee Bridge. It is big. It is bold. It is beautiful…We did it in one year…That’s what making government work is all about.”

BUT! “We have more to do. As a matter of fact, we have much, much more to do.”

Accomplishments of the past two years prove, Cuomo says, that “we can defy the odds” and do anything we want as long as we “work together.”

2:28 p.m. Cuomo quotes former Gov. Al Smith. (Al Smith IV is in the audience; I saw him at the Capitol earlier today).

The governor is lauding the accomplishments of his first two years, saying the traditional dysfunction of Albany has been “replaced with a government that puts politics aside, remembers why they’re here, puts the people first” etc.

2:27 p.m. POWERPOINT!!!

2:26 p.m. Interesting that Cuomo decided to give a shout-out to state employees for their work after big storms like Sandy. His relationship with CSEA and PEF has been rocky over the past two years.

2:23 p.m. Cuomo says New York saw “more than our share of tragedies” in 2012; “you saw New York at its worst, but also saw New York at its best.” Asks members of the State Police to stand and receive applause.

Now he’s on to recognizing the National Guard for its response to the multiple storms the state saw over the past 15 months. They also stand, (all wearing fatigues) to get applause.

Still not at the substance of the speech. It’s going to be a long afternoon.

2:21 p.m. “I remember the first time I walked into the Capitol as a young fellow. I was awed” by its beauty, but it lost its luster over time. Cuomo thanks OGS for helping to improve and restore the Capitol.

2:19 p.m. Cuomo asks the members of the Senate and Assembly to stand “so you can be recognized for your great work. Stand please.”

2:17 p.m. Cuomo finally takes the podium, introduced by Heiland. “Thank you very much. Happy New Year, New York.”

He acknowledges and thanks “the greatest partner a governor could ever have” – Duffy. “Bob Duffy’s made a tremendous difference all across this state and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”

And now the governor is greeting and re-introducing the other elected officials on the stage, including “co-leaders” Skelos and Klein.

2:14 p.m. – We’re now well into the 2 o’clock hour and we haven’t even heard word one from the governor.

Instead, we’re hearing from Greg Heiland, head of Valutek, a medical device company about how he decided to locate in New York despite its reputation as being unfriendly to business – all because Cuomo has a “new approach” to economic development.

He says he’s relocating the “lion’s share of our operations to New York from Arizona; we are even moving our testing lab from China and Malaysia to New York – Utica, NY.”

2:09 p.m. – Duffy introduces Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, who was appointed to his position by the LG in 2010.

Sheppard, who is African American, is calling for an end to gun violence: “It is time for us to take action against the gun violence that has taken too many lives.”

He also said shootings like those at Newtown, Aurora, Tuscon and Columbine “should never be allowed to happen again.”

It’s very unusual to have someone who isn’t remotely connected to state government to speak at the State of the State address – a fact that has not gone unnoticed – or unremarked upon (on Twitter) – by Capitol insiders.

2:07 p.m. Duffy calls up family members of the two firefighters who were killed – Webster Police Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the police department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, who worked as a 911 dispatcher for Monroe County – to receive ceremonial flags from Cuomo.

2:05 p.m. Duffy, a Rochester native and former mayor of the city, gives a shout-out to the West Webster Fire Department and recalls the two firefighters who died in a Christmas Eve shooting.

2:04 p.m. – We’re wrapping up the blessings and invocations portion of the speech now.

More details are starting to leak out…See here, here and here.

About 2 p.m. – I’m coming a little late to the party here, since we were live on the air at CapTon (ably assisted by Insiders Steve Greenberg and Bob Bellafiore).

The State of the State is underway. Things got started almost 20 minutes late.

LG Bob Duffy is, as usual, on emcee duty. He introduced all the statewide elected officials and legislative leaders – including IDC leader Jeff Klein and Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos, who were both announced with the title: “Senate Coalition Majority Leader.”

The TU’s Jimmy Vielkind reported that the Senate approved rules before coming to the convention center that calls for Klein and Skelos to trade off the Senate president position every OTHER DAY, not every two weeks as originally believed.

That oughta be interesting…