As he does annually, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is preparing to offer his State of the State Address. This years event will be held at 1:30 p.m. today at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
Theres little doubt most New Yorkers will be interested in hearing his message on how the state is faring. Were not sure if hell touch on any of the following issues. Regardless, here are a few items wed like to see addressed in Albany this year:
■ A thorough discussion of the plight of the upstate New York economy.
How can it be that the fastest-growing upstate county is Jefferson County, which has the third- highest unemployment rate in the state? The upstate economy suffers from high property taxes, high electric rates, high workers compensation insurance rates and personal income tax rates that drive entrepreneurs out of the state.
Upstate also suffers from the ban on exploitation of the natural gas reserves deep below the surface. The ban leaves hundreds of people unemployed or underemployed. Upstate is missing the benefits of Americas return to the largest energy-producing nation in the world.
■ An investment in the electric power distribution system.
■ Recognition that schools in rural areas need incentives to consolidate even if those incentives are penalties for refusing to merge or share services.
■ Recognition that the Adirondacks are an New York asset that are not reserved for the well healed who can afford to have a second home there but also impose economic restrictions on the indigenous population.
■ Tell members of the Legislature to keep their crude thoughts to themselves.
Assemblymen Micah Z. Kellner, D-76th District, was recently sanctioned resulting from charges that he made sexually suggestive comments to female staff members in 2009 and 2011. Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, D-53rd District, resigned from the Legislature in May following a sexual harassment scandal. And Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, D-143rd District, was accused last month of making sexually explicit comments to several female staffers.
Gov. Cuomo has called on Mr. Kellner and Mr. Gabryszak to either deny the charges or resign their elective offices. If they dont comply with his request, the governor said the Assembly must send a clear message that they do not tolerate this abuse of women and should seriously consider moving to expel them if they seek to return this coming session.
However the Assembly wishes to handle these particular cases, members of the Legislature should not be divulging their sexual fantasies to people on the state payroll. If they feel the need to talk dirty, they should consult with Eliot Spitzer. He can probably direct them to individuals who do this for a living!