Leaders react to Gov. Hochul’s State of the State address

Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address
Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address(WWNY)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 4:45 PM EST
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WBNG) -- Governor Kathy Hochul held her 2022 State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.

In the address, Governor Hochul addressed the COVID-19 pandemic, investments into healthcare and digital infrastructure, the allowance of to-go drinks for bars and restaurants as a revenue stream, climate change and more.

Posted below are some local leaders’ reactions to the governor’s address. More will be posted as they become available:

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo:

“I am inspired by Governor Hochul’s uplifting State of the State address today. Her pledge to show what “good, honest, functioning government looks like,” is music to my ears.  She recognizes the need to act decisively on the many challenges we are facing, from health care staffing shortages, to declining infrastructure, and farm instability.  I am looking forward to working closely with her and my colleagues on a state budget that benefits New York’s hardworking taxpayers, small businesses, educators, service providers, farmers, and more.”

State Senator Fred Akshar:

“Today Governor Hochul delivered her first State of the State address since becoming Governor after her predecessor, Governor Cuomo resigned in disgrace.

The new year is an opportunity to change course and correct the mistakes of the past, not repeat them.

New York’s families and small businesses have been suffering for years under single-party leadership with the wrong priorities, long before the pandemic made things even worse.

Every year, our state has continued to lose hundreds of thousands of good people looking for opportunities elsewhere, when we should be creating those opportunities right here at home.

We’ll never be able to compete with other states when the cost of living and the cost of surviving as a small business remains unmanageably high for far too many New Yorkers.

I was pleased to see the Governor take a page out of our conference’s priority list by proposing $100 million in tax credits for small businesses and to speed up the Republican Conferences’ $1.2 billion middle-class tax cut from 2018.

Investments in workforce, education are essential, but we investments in mental health and developmental disabilities services are especially important. We must take care of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, especially during these difficult times.

I whole heartedly support her proposed jails to jobs program to help connect incarcerated individuals with job opportunities upon release. It’s a much needed program in communities across our state.

The Governor also proposed $10 billion to help boost the state’s decimated healthcare workforce. It’s much needed, but it’s important to note that the Governor herself helped decimate that workforce when we needed them most by forcing over 30,000 workers out of their jobs with an ill-timed vaccine mandate.

What I did not hear was any mention of the much-needed changes to the disastrous bail reform law that’s wreaked havoc on public safety and our criminal justice system. The Governor herself admitted what many in Albany refuse to acknowledge: Crime was on the rise not just in New York City but across the state. It’s one thing to admit the truth, but another thing to do something about it, and she made no mention of making the necessary reforms to this law to hold individuals accountable for their crimes and give judges the discretion they need to keep violent criminals off the streets.

While I agree with several of her proposals, these are all taxpayer funded proposals and the devil is always in the details. My team and I will be closely reviewing the details of these proposals as they are released in the coming weeks.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to offer your thoughts on these issues and more via email or on our website, Akshar.NYSenate.Gov.”

Assemblyman Joe Angelino:

“So many New York residents are looking to the state to develop a reasonable action plan to learn to live with the COVID-19 virus so we can finally release the pause button on our lives. We are among the highest in taxes, COVID-19 positivity rates and out-migration of residents. What New York is doing now isn’t working. We must address the failures of bail reform. Our communities continue to be burdened by emboldened criminals due to the inability of our justice system to hold accountable those who are choosing lawlessness. I encourage Gov. Hochul and my colleagues to keep this in mind as we move forward in the next several months.”

Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham:

State Senator Peter Oberacker:

“For New York to truly reemerge as the Empire State we need to protect our greatest asset – our people.  Individuals and families are leaving the state at a record rate, and the governor admitted as much.  While I stand ready to work with her on initiatives that will help those I represent, I will fight back against other proposals that are will do more harm.

“I was particularly pleased to hear her call for broadband and cell phone service for all, additional support to fight the opioid epidemic, a reinvestment in our SUNY campuses, and an acceleration of the Republican authored middle class tax cuts.

“However, her failure to address the disastrous bail reform system is a major concern.  Her agriculture proposals come up well short and she did not mention the pending overtime threshold change which is concerning all farmers. Finally,

“I look forward to reviewing the full details and more importantly, the governor’s budget proposal – we cannot afford another state budget that overspends and overtaxes.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin (Republican candidate for New York Governor in 2022)

“Under the Cuomo-Hochul administration, punishing taxes and a skyrocketing cost of living, out-of-control crime, suffocating attacks on our freedom, and unending scandals resulted in New York leading the nation in residents fleeing. Unfortunately, New York’s current Governor Kathy Hochul and one-party rule in Albany have continued the attacks on your wallets, safety, freedoms, and kids’ education.

“We need political balance in Albany, we need to break the supermajority in the Assembly and Senate, and, equally as important, we need a geographic balance of power. Every New Yorker, no matter where they live, should feel like they have a voice and representation in our state capital.

“The bottom line is this: In November, we must Save Our State at the ballot box.”

Empire State for Child Care

In today’s State of the State, Governor Hochul acknowledged the crisis in child care and the critical importance of expanding access for families and increasing compensation for the workforce. Unfortunately, Governor Hochul’s proposed investments in child care, while certainly a gesture in the right direction, are not significant enough to meet the needs of this crucial sector at this time, let alone begin the transformation of child care that New York children and families so desperately need.

The investment of $75 million in unspent federal funds for workforce support, only a small portion of what is actually remaining from FY 2021, is a small step in addressing compensation issues. “The under compensation of the workforce, largely women of color, perpetuates long-standing racial and gender inequities, prevents the retainment of staff, and undermines the goal of providing quality care. This investment-- while a step in the right direction-- does not go nearly far enough,” said Tara N. Gardner, Executive Director, Day Care Council of New York. “Similarly, the proposed increase of child care eligibility leaves far too many families without access to child care and is significantly less than what federal regulations permit.”

“As a former child care provider, I know that New York’s children and families have suffered from years of inadequate state investments in child care. This latest phase of the pandemic is now directly impacting our children, making it critically important to support both families and the child care workforce,” said Vonetta T. Rhodes, Empire State Campaign for Child Care and WNY Child Care Action Team. “New York cannot afford to waste another minute. We urge the Governor and the State Legislature to take bold action and begin the path towards universal child care.”

“The Governor still has time to make these crucial investments in her Executive Budget,” said Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy and Executive Committee member of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care. “The Empire State Campaign for Child Care looks forward to a 2022-23 Executive Budget that moves the State significantly closer to a transformation of child care in New York State that ensures every child and family has equitable access to high-quality child care, and every early care educator can earn a sustaining wage.”

The Business Council of New York State

“The Business Council applauds Governor Hochul’s initiatives to promote a stronger economy, increased private sector investments, and the creation of good-paying jobs. In particular, we were encouraged to see proposals for investments in economic development, small businesses relief, improved workforce development, and access to affordable childcare, among others. We are committed to advocating on behalf of New York’s businesses and look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to achieve our goal of promoting continued economic recovery.”