Details Of Obama’s GE Visit

…Compliments of the White House press office:

On Tuesday, January 11, President Obama will travel to Schenectady, New York to visit the birthplace of General Electric.

The site is home to GE’s largest energy division, including steam turbines, generators, wind and solar, and the future home of GE’s advanced battery manufacturing facility.

The President will tour the site with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and he will make remarks on the importance of growing the economy and making America more competitive by investing in jobs, innovation and clean energy.

The GE plant in Schenectady is a direct beneficiary of GE’s power turbine deal with India announced during the President’s trip last November.

Air Force One is scheduled to arrive at Albany International Airport at 11:30 a.m. and depart at 1:20 p.m.

That’s one quick trip.

The president is expected to speak sometime around 12:15 p.m. YNN will, of course, be taking his speech live.

Mandate Relief Redesign Team Named

…Two State of the State-related redesign teams down (Medicaid and now mandate relief), one to go (SAGE), and perhaps we’ll have that last one, too, before the day is out.

The mandate relief team, also created via executive order, is tasked with reviewing existing unfunded and underfunded mandates imposed by state government on school districts, local governments, and other local taxing districts.

The 23-member team includes representatives from private industry, education, labor, and government. They’ll be looking for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated, and determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses. The deadline for recommendations: March 1.

The team is chaired by Senior Advisor to the Governor (and former top aide to ex-Gov. David Paterson) Larry Schwartz.

“The enormous burden of unfunded and underfunded mandates is breaking the backs of taxpayers, counties and municipalities across the state,” Cuomo said.

“These mandates are throwing budgets out of balance and sending local property taxes through the roof. This diverse team of leaders and public servants fulfills the commitment to bring stakeholders to one table in order to work together to deliver relief and results for New Yorkers.”

The full list of members appears after the jump.

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Cuomo Names Medicaid Redesign Team

Gov. Andrew Cuomo just released the names of the team tasked with coming up with ways to save money in the state’s behemonth Medicaid program in time to implement those suggestions in the 2011-2012 budget.

The 27-member team (oddly, the executive order that formed it says Cuomo would appoint up to 25 voting members, and it’s not clear who won’t be voting), includes four state lawmakers – Assemblymen Richard Gottfried and Joe Giglio and Senators Tom Duane and Kemp Hannon – as well as representatives from all over the health care sector (Ken Raske of GNYHA, 1199 – both current president George Gresham and his predecessor, Dennis Rivera, Dan Sisto of HANYS etc.)

State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson will serve as the team’s executive director and the state Budget Director (um, that would be Bob Megna, whose name is not included in the press release) will serve as a non-voting member.

“This team is tasked with the challenge of reversing a decades’ long crisis of overspending and waste in our Medicaid system,” Cuomo said.

“We need to come together to find solutions to bring costs down without compromising care for New Yorkers and that is exactly what this team is going to do.”

Cuomo today participated in the team’s first meeting via conference call.

The team’s first report – with findings and recommendations – must be submitted to Cuomo by March 1 for consideration in the budget process. It will then submit quarterly reports thereafter until the end of of the next fiscal year, when it disbands.

Sisto is my guest on CapTon tonight (airing at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.) He admitted the team’s task is daunting, particularly given the short time frame.

The full list of team members appears after the jump.

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Rudy Keeps ‘Em Guessing

So former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is playing his cards close to the vest on today’s Post report that he’s “rounding up” top political advisors to discuss another presidential bid in 2012.

The story was subsequently followed by any number of news outlets, but the former mayor insisted on Morning Joe that he hasn’t found any advisors to round up and doesn’t have a trip to New Hampshire scheduled “right now.”

In the same appearance, Giuliani dismissed criticism of Mayor Bloomberg (with whom he hasn’t always had the smoothest relationship) for his Christmas weekend blizzard response, saying the maelstrom of negativity has been “overdone” adding:

“Mike has been a very good mayor, and you don’t get to judge it based on ‘he blew it once.’”

The former mayor was less lenient with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is taking it on the chin for being in Disney World when the storm hit. Giuliani said Christie “should have come back.” (H/T Ben Smith).

“I mean, if he asked me my advice, I would’ve said ‘They elected you governor, they’ve got an emergency, they expect you to be there,’” Giuliani said.

“You know, you’ve got to be there if you’re a governor, a mayor, or even a president, if it’s important enough.”

Before he got bogged down in this storm, Christie was the darling of Republicans (and the media), who were falling all over themselves in hopes that he might run in 2012. (He insists he’s not interested). Speculation has also mounted that Bloomberg might take another shot at an independent White House bid, although he says he’s not interested, either.

For what it’s worth, I’ve touched base with several New York folks in the Giuliani sphere and they have no knowledge of any 2012 plan.

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Cuomo Keeps Predecessors’ Executive Orders (Updated)

The Cuomo administration has issued six executive orders since the new governor took office on Jan. 1.

Three are connected to his State of the State speech announcements, creating the mandate relief and Medicaid redesign teams and the so-called SAGE commission (Spending and Government Efficiency). Another required ethics training for his top staffers and commissioners.

(It’s unclear to me what the first executive order was because it’s not listed on Cuomo’s revamped gubernatorial Website. UPDATE: That’s right, No. 1 was to remove the concerete barries from outside the Capitol…wonder why it’s not post on-line).

The other four were formally announced via press release.

Not so, curiously, for executive order No. 2, which announced that all previous orders had been repealed, cancelled and/or revoked with the exception of some seven dozen – one of which dates back to the Rockefeller era.

The Rockefeller order, issued Oct. 14, 1970, relates to procedures for submission and settlement of certain grievances of state employees.

Cuomo also is continuing a number of orders issued by his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, that did everything from establishing the Governor’s Offices of Hispanic Affairs and Indian Relations to renaming the DOH New Scotland lab building for the late David Axelrod.

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DiNapoli To Hold Public Inauguration

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli shared the stage with Governor Cuomo during his low key swearing-in on January 1st.

But like Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, he’s also holding his own personal, invite-only and more elaborate inauguration ceremony.

The Long Island native will deliver remarks on Sunday at the Cooper Union in Manhattan to mark the beginning of his first full term in the office.

He’ll be joined by US Sen. Chuck Schumer, Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice (who lost in the primary to AG Schneiderman), and AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes – none of whom were at the governor’s inauguration and all of whom are slated to speak.

Gov. Cuomo was adamant that his inaugural be an austere event as a matter of sensitivity during a difficult economic climate.  He made a concerted effort to remove politics from the affair by inviting a relatively small number of friends and family and only a handful of legislative leaders.

Levy Subpoenaed (Updated)

Things haven’t been going so well for Democrat-turned-Republican Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, for whom problems have been mounting since he returned to his day job after failing to make the cut for a gubernatorial bid at the GOP convention this past summer.

Newsday reports that George Guldi, a former Suffolk County legislator facing a mortgage fraud trial, had Levy served with a subpoena to compel him to testify.

Levy spokesman Mark Smith said the county executive would move to quash the subpoena, adding: “This is not a court-ordered subpoena but was concocted by a desperate, pro se defendant seeking to create a Jerry Springer atmosphere to divert attention from his mortgage fraud indictment.”

Guldi is representing himself in the trial.

Newsday also reports that Ethan Ellner, a longtime friend and former housemate of Levy’s, is a co-defendant in the case, but has agreed to testify against Guldi. Levy’s relationship with Ellner, as you’ll recall, became an issue during the run-up to the GOP convention.

From Newsday:

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Cox’s Fashion Advice For Cuomo

(OK, not really, it’s actually a metaphor).

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox was on hand for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first State of the State address Wednesday and said the Republicans plan to hold the Democratic governor’s feet to the fire when it comes to making good on his pledges of fiscal conservatism.

“The governor stole our clothes, we want to be sure he wears them the right way,” Cox said.

Cox said he’s optimistic about the Cuomo era. He also sounded a hopeful note about the four renegade Senate Democrats who broke from their conference to form an independent caucus, saying: “We have to see more what it’s about, but they’re certainly coming in the right direction now.”

Madore Term Limited From Newsday Cap Bureau

Here’s CapTon’s Liz Alesse’s brief exit interview of Newsday Capitol Bureau Chief James T. Madore, who is departing Albany for points South after four years of covering the seat of state government.

Madore told Liz A. his Long Island-based employer has a tradition of limiting the tenure of reporters in his current post to four years (also the duration of a single gubernatorial term). So, now that there’s a new governor in town, Madore will be heading to the Newsday mothership in Melville to cover business.

The Capitol isn’t going to be the same without him.

I’m not sure what I’ll do without a regular dose of Madore’s righteous indignation about the shenanigans of state lawmakers, or his seemingly limitless knowledge of arcane budget matters, or his insistence on referring to government officials by their formal titles (Madam Budget Director was a favorite).

And who will speak for the Long Island readers! Who will champion the cause of property tax reform? (Actually, I think Governor Andrew Cuomo has that particular base covered). Veteran reporter Yancey Roy is returning from the dark side after a four-year stint as a DEC spokesman to take over for Madore.

Roy is a veteran newsman who worked at Gannett and also the Times Union before jumping ship. It’s going to be great to have him back. But I’ll still miss Madore. Good luck, JT. Don’t be a stranger.

Here And Now

Is Rudy running in 2012?

Giuliani downplayed the reports during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning, saying he hasn’t reached out to any political advisors, and saying he wasn’t sure if he was going to New Hampshire next month. Though, he did say, “I love New Hampshire.” Giuliani did talk at length about Bloomberg’s handling of the snow, saying he made a mistake by not calling a snow emergency earlier. Though, he says Bloomberg has been a “great mayor.” (No Link)

The Post says today’s light snow is Bloomberg’s shot at “re-dump-tion”

Some think there isn’t enough time for Cuomo’s 3 special committees addressing medicaid, consolidation, and mandate relief to impact the budget.

Crain’s breaks down the Wisconsin medicaid model Andrew Cuomo wants to emulate.

Cuomo’s pick of Darrel Aubertine as Ag Commissioner is getting high praise.

The DN suggests that lawmakers might have a problem with Cuomo’s classroom webcasts.

The Jamestown school district likes Cuomo’s call for competitive funding.

Andrew Cuomo likes it cold when he delivers speeches.

Cuomo is getting a honeymoon from some upstate editorial boards.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s inaugural wasn’t nearly as austere as the Governors.

Wooing the “Long Island 9″ Senate block may be key to passing legislation for the next few years.

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