Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address
ALBANY, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – New York State Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State address last night, outlining her agenda for the next year and beyond.
Hochul, who became the state’s first female governor in August after taking over for governor Andrew Cuomo, spoke from the State Assembly chamber in Albany — addressing a limited audience because of the rise in COVID-19 cases statewide and throughout the nation.
Hochul said she would usher a new era in New York state government, stating her intent to fix a system she said she believes is plagued by a lack of collaboration and dysfunction. Hochul spent the early minutes of her speech chiding her predecessor, albeit indirectly.
“The days of the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City wasting time on petty rivalries are over,” Hochul said, referring to the frosty relationship between former governor Andrew Cuomo and now-former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
Hochul said she wants to reform the Joint Commission on Public Ethics with a rotating board of five law school deans or their designees. The JCOPE currently consists of members appointed by elected officials — a method that has been criticized since the commission’s inception.
“This new ethics agency will prioritize transparency and integrity, crack down on any wrongdoing, and ensure compliance and ethical governing throughout State government,” Hochul said.
Hochul’s announcement of her intention to reform the state’s ethics watchdog comes less than two days after she proposed a constitutional amendment imposing a two-term limit for the roles of the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller and attorney general.
Hochul spent time during her speech discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, education, climate, taxes and a plethora of other subjects. She detailed her plan to invest $10 billion into the healthcare sector, with money devoted to wages, worker retention and expansion, and improving healthcare infrastructure statewide.
She also said she plans to move up a tax cut that would have gone into effect in 2025 to next year — which would offer $1.2 billion in tax cuts to middle-class residents. In addition, she proposed $100 million in tax relief for small business owners and $1 billion in property tax rebates for homeowners.
Hochul said she wants part-time students to be reimbursed for tuition and also proposed an initiative with the goal of helping incarcerated people land jobs upon leaving prison.
On climate, the governor said she is proposing an investment of $500 million dollars in offshore wind infrastructure, in addition to increasing the number of electrified homes in the Empire State.