It wasn't the longest State of the State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ever given, but it was still super-sized with proposals, accomplishments and goals for the new year.
State of the State addresses are traditionally not meant examples of nitty-gritty policy wonkery -- an address that's largely left up to the state budget presentation in the coming weeks.
This year, Cuomo quoted the late musician Leonard Cohen -- a first. Not a first, was Cuomo offering up his definition of being a "progressive" -- a term he's filed under the "get-things-done" bromide.
He wants to fight racisim and anti-Semitisim by creating a new hate crimes anti-terrorism law. Again, he wants to legalize marijuana. He called for a paid sick leave requirement for businesses. He touted airport improvements, a $3 billion environmental bond propsoal, paid family leave, and a tax cut aimed at small businesses.
But his repeated theme: These are troubled times.
"Our ship of state is stronger than it has been in decades, but the ocean we navigate is as tempest tossed as we have seen. Waves of anxiety, injustice and frustration are being fanned by winds of anger and division, creating a political and social superstorm, but these are the times when New York is called upon to show leadership and set a course for a troubled nation," Cuomo said.
"New York is the progressive capital of the nation and we must fulfill that destiny again this year. Working together, we have achieved the best progressive state government in the nation. We have accomplished more together than we could have imagined and now we must do even more."
Lawmakers wanted to hear more about the budget gap, pegged at more than $6 billion, which Cuomo said is a challenge and "significant."
He said the state needs to once again assess Medicaid spending, which is facing a $4 billion shortfall. Not surprisingly, he was light on details.
This portion of the speech appear particularly noteworthy:
"Six years ago, we froze the cost of Medicaid to local governments to help local governments meet their property tax cap," Cuomo said.
"For six years, we have been paying all the increased costs in local Medicaid spending and holding local governments harmless. This year alone we will spend over $4 billion in covering the increase in local government's share. We are paying $177.5 million on behalf of Erie, $175.9 million on behalf of Westchester, $2 billion on behalf of New York City in their local costs this year. Also, the local governments still administer their local program, even though they no longer share the costs - and we have seen dramatically higher cost increases recently. You cannot separate administration from accountability. It is too easy to write the check when you don't sign it."
What could that mean? Well, wait for the budget. State lawmakers certainly will be.
"Of course we're all concerned about the budget gap," said Sen. Rachel May, a Democrat who represents the Syracuse area. "It wasn't absolutely clear to me what his plan is for filling the budget gap, but we're all on tenterhooks to see what the actual budget is going to be that he puts forward."