Governor Andrew Cuomo State of State Address
Hits Important Local Issues
By Edie Johnson
During his State of the State speech this week, as Governor Cuomo addressed a number of issues that will have significant impact to residents in Orange County.
In general, the speech was well-received. Some, however, saw it as overreaching and sounded like an early bid for the next Presidency. Others questioned the legal basis of the challenge to the federal tax code, although there appear to be efforts at some additional ways to “work around it”. Thirdly, there remains concern about the state’s $4 Billion deficit, and a lack of specific plans to tackle it. Efforts to create a ward system of voting or diversion of a portion of the state’s large sales tax income to a special fund that would be created to compensate a portion of the school tax burden, a burden causing many senior citizens to flee the state, remain in only preliminary concept form.
Cuomo set forth broad hopes for New York’s future in his 8th State of the State Address, vowing that New York will lead the nation. Measures he proposed include:
1 – New York State will sue the Federal Government over the new tax laws. He added that he believes the new code is unconstitutional and against states’ rights and added that lawmakers are looking for additional ways to compensate residents, beyond the lawsuit, for the increased burden of property taxes that will no longer be deductible beyond $10,000 The state also plans to sue the federal government over environmental protection issues.
2 – Cuomo said that General Electric has not completed sufficient cleanup of the Hudson River and the pcb issues it created. They will be held to task until the cleanup is thorough and properly done.
3 – The State will pour significant finances (estimated to be $34 million) into expansion and publicity for Stewart Airport in New Windsor, and is inviting Legoland to the table regarding the construction planned at the Woodbury interchange.
4 – He is calling for disclosure rules for political ads, and the option to cast votes up to 12 days previous to an election, thereby making voting more accessible.
5 – $60 Million will be awarded to mental health and addiction healthcare providers to lower cost and improve outcomes.
Cuomo summed his goals:
First-in-the-Nation Plan to Fight the Federal Tax Assault; Multi-Pronged Women’s Agenda; Nation’s Most Progressive Criminal Justice Reforms; Strongest Protections to Ensure the Integrity of New York’s Elections; Nation-Leading Counter Terrorism Program
Making Dramatic Investments in 21st Century Infrastructure, Advancing Job Creation and Innovation, Attacking Homelessness, Expanding Access to Higher Education & Tackling Climate Change
Further, he proposed the following Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda
Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand “Peaker” Power Plants
Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State
$200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy
Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers
Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government
Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day
Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted