Although the governor spoke briefly on Wednesday about campaign finance reform, advocates are doubtful that the governor will actually give it more than lip service. Cuomo has introduced some of the same proposals several years in a row, but they haven't gone very far in the State legislature.
But there was something else the governor failed to mention altogether: six upcoming public corruption trials of public officials, starting with Cuomo's former close aide, Joe Percoco, later this month. Cuomo once described Percoco as his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo's, favorite third son.
"You did not hear the word 'corruption' or the trials coming up against his brother and other close associates," said State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox.
But it's not just the Republicans who noticed the ommission. Good-government groups say the trials should remind the public that reform needs to be at the very top of Albany's agenda.
"This is the year we want them to deliver. And we think the monthly, high-profile corruption cases will drive the message home to the public in a way that's never had before," said Blair Horner of NYPIRG.
Specifically, reformers want to see procurement reform. It was the awarding of state contracts, including accusations of bid-rigging, that resulted in charges against Percoco, and a second indictment for Cuomo's upstate economic development initiative known as the "Bufalo Billion." That trial begins in May.
"In 2016, we found out that a lot of the RFPs in the Buffalo Billion were tailored toward companies that gave huge donations, campaign donations to the governor. We cannot allow that to happen in New York State," said Jennifer Wilson of the League of Women Voters. "Other states have implemented pay to play laws. We need to do that here in New York State as well."
"The Governor has advanced, championed and passed reforms virtually every year, including landmark transparency reforms that some of these very same groups are suing to overturn in order to keep their donors secret — so spare me the hypocrisy," said Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo.
Finally, good-government groups want to limit or even eliminate lawmakers' ability to earn outside income. The governor agrees with this goal, but Republicans who control the state Senate are unlikely to go along with that.