Cuomo’s promises

With pledges to control spending, create jobs, reform the political system, and help the poor, Governor Cuomo set an ambitious agenda for 2012.

As Latinos in New York face a painful 11% unemployment, we are encouraged to hear in the State of the State speech that the his Administration will seek to create new revenues and jobs through the nation’s largest convention center in Queens, and the legalization of casinos.

We are also very pleased to hear the Governor has heeded the calls of advocates to create a new office that will help immigrants and to eliminate a bad city requirement to fingerprint food stamp beneficiaries –a measure that deters thousands of poor people from accessing food.

But while introducing some important tenant protections, Cuomo fell short of tackling fundamental rent reform.

What was also glaringly missing from the speech was a pledge to fight for the approval of a state Dream Act. The Board of Regents’ called for a law that would give eligible undocumented college students access to state financial aid. Cuomo must act on their behalf so that they can contribute their talent to the Empire State.

Cuomo’s plans for 2012 are promising.

Of course for Latinos –who despite being nearly 18% of the state’s population are only 4% of its workforce- it is always somewhat unclear how all these big economic development plans will transform the daily lives of families. We hope Cuomo Administration will help correct this underrepresentation, so everyone –especially the state’s fastest growing group- can feel confident about the direction the Empire state is taking.