The Executive Branch of New York State is characterized by a strong Governor, with certain powers over appointments and the budget. However, executive authority is restricted by the independently appointed and elected officials.
The Executive Branch is headed by the Governor, who is elected for a term of four years. The Governor, who must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the United States and a resident of New York for five years, serves as the State’s chief executive and Commander-in-Chief of its military and naval forces. He is required by the Constitution to submit a yearly State Budget to the Legislature, in which he makes recommendations for legislation and proposes funding appropriations for departments and programs. The Governor also is empowered to: veto legislative bills with which he disagrees; convene the Legislature for special sessions; appoint and, under certain conditions, remove non-elected state officers; and grant reprieves, commutations and pardons. Andrew Cuomo has been serving as the Governor of New York since 2011.
The Lieutenant Governor is elected for the same term and must possess the same qualifications for office as the Governor. The Lieutenant Governor’s main function is to serve as President of the State Senate, but he/she assumes the governorship in case of impeachment, resignation, absence or death of the Governor. The Lieutenant Governor’s executive duties are designated by the Governor and may include the chairing of state councils. Kathy Hochul has been serving as Lieutenant Governor of New York since 2015.
State Comptroller and Attorney General
The Attorney General and the State Comptroller are the other two elected officials who serve in the Executive Branch. The Attorney General, as the State’s chief legal officer, is responsible for the prosecution of all actions for or against the State, has control of the legal affairs of state officers and departments and serves as the head of the Department of Law. The Comptroller is the chief fiscal officer of the State and serves as the administrative head of the Department of Audit and Control. Letitia James has been serving as the attorney general of New York since 2019, and Thomas DiNapoli has been serving as the State Comptroller since 2007.