Attorney General Andrew Cuomo won the gubernatorial election, with 62% of the vote, and told his supporters that he would end the "dysfunction and degradation" of Albany, "The people have spoken loud and clear. What they are saying is they want reform. The mandate tonight is to clean up Albany."
The "clean up Albany" theme was also part of Republican and Tea Party Carl Paladino's platform, but the unpredictable Buffalo developer received 34%. Cuomo referred to his rival, saying, "All through this campaign, the other forces, the opponents were trying to divide the people of this state. It was the oldest political tactic. It was divide and conquer... They thought that they could separate us and they thought they could divide us and they thought they could take our diversity and make it a weakness, but they can't. My friends, they really didn't know who they were talking to and who they were dealing with. They didn't know where they were. Yes we are upstate and downstate but we are one state because we are New York."
Cuomo promised to lower taxes and freeze state spending; the NY Times predicts he's on a "collision course" with unions:
Out of an operating budget of $78.2 billion, the state spends about $11 billion on wages for its work force of 220,000. The cost of providing medical insurance for those employees will surge to $2.5 billion from $1.8 billion over the next three years.
By 2015, state pension costs — which are, by law, set in Albany and underwritten by Democratic and Republican administrations — will exceed $8 billion a year, compared with $2.6 billion last year, according to a state projection. At the same time, New York has promised more than $200 billion worth of health benefits to its retirees but has set aside almost nothing to pay for them.
Ah, Empire State of Mind, all right.