The Remarks Of Speaker Sheldon Silver

New York Bankers Association Annual Legislative Conference

The Crowne Plaza, Albany, NY Monday, February 7, 2011

{As Prepared For Delivery}


Thank you, Michael (CEO Smith), for your always kind and generous introduction, and thank you, members of the New York Bankers Association, for your warm welcome.

As I have many times over the years, I join the Chair of our Banking Committee, Assemblyman Darryl Towns, in bringing you the greetings of the New York State Assembly as well as our best wishes for an informative conference and a successful legislative session.

I expect, when all is said and done, that this session will be remembered as one of the more productive in recent memory. There is a determination and a drive in the Capitol right now that New Yorkers have not seen in a decade.

Governor Cuomo has laid out an ambitious agenda that has at its core, private-sector job creation and a streamlined public sector. I have pledged the Assembly's readiness and willingness to work with the Governor and with our colleagues in the Senate:

To reduce state spending;

To make our state a more affordable place in which to live, to work, to raise a family, and to do business;

And to give New Yorkers the government that is more transparent, more accountable, more efficient and more effective.

The Governor, as you know, presented his Executive Budget proposal one week ago today. We are in the process of examining it and this morning, the Joint Fiscal Committees of the Legislature initiated their series of public hearings on the Governor's proposed financial plan.

I expect your president and my longtime friend, Mike Smith, will be testifying before the joint committees next week, hopefully during some part of a day when its not snowing and sleeting.

The Governor included a number of proposals that affect the banking industry and Chairman Towns will be discussing them with you.

Let me briefly address one key issue.

As it pertains to our banking industry, certainly, there needs to be discussion and we need to work together quickly on the creation of the new Department of Financial Regulation.

This consolidation of the Banking and Insurance Departments was an idea the Assembly Majority put forward in our budget proposal last year.

We believed then and we believe now that it is an important step in streamlining government services and it is vital to restoring the public's faith in our financial system.

That said, we need to be sensitive as a state, to the impact such a consolidation will have on industry fees.

As the assemblyman who represents Wall Street - and I say this every year - I understand better than most how important it is to keep our financial services industry strong.

I am also aware - and I greatly appreciate - the Association's contributions to the federal and state efforts to protect consumers and to prevent the foreclosures that have made the last three-plus years so heartbreaking for so many middle-class homeowners.

While we must continue those efforts, I am sure you were pleased to hear Governor Cuomo's commitment to private-sector job creation and to making New York State a more conducive environment for business.

We are pleased to hear the Governor talking about regional economic development, public/private partnerships, and the continuing use of our state university and city university systems as the engine of economic development.

It is a strategy the Assembly has been carrying out for two decades.

Before you return to your home communities, I urge you to make the short drive up Washington Avenue here in Albany and to see the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Not far from where we are right now is the largest, most state-of-the-art, high-tech complex in the academic world; a national and international center for nanotechnology R&D, education and commercialization that houses the biggest players in the semiconductor industry - 250 global partners, and counting!

It all stemmed from a public/private partnership and a $5 million investment from the Assembly back in 1997,

Albany Nano is the realization of everything the Governor is advocating and I believe we can do the same kind of thing in every region of our state. But, we will not grow our the economy, we cannot fully fund innovation and receive all of its fruits, without you, our banks.

It is no secret. An economy where money is not moving is, to borrow the Governor's phrase, "functionally bankrupt."

I know this Association has pledged to work with the Governor.

While I am here, let me renew my promise to work with you to nurture a more prosperous state economy and to continue the construction of an innovation-based, 21st Century economy that benefits every corner of our Empire State.

I and my Assembly colleagues recognize that you have an exceptional leader in Michael Smith. I hope that you appreciate him as much as we do.

Michael can attest that my door and the doors of my Assembly colleagues are always open to this Association.

Please, take advantage of the offer. Make the most of your conference and by all means, enjoy your days here in our Capital City.

Thank you.