Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

By Ted Potrikus

New York’s governor delivers a state-of-the-state address at the start of each calendar year; the speech a sitting governor gives at the onset of an election year is, however, always something a little different, a little more ambitious in scope.

Such is the case today (January 5) with a brief-by-comparison speech from Governor Kathy Hochul – her first since assuming the mantle after disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down. Hers was an address filled with the usual something-for-everybody on the menu – with very little that any opponents could attack outright. And, the address appears to open the door for discussions on bail reform.

But a state-of-the-state is rather like looking through an annual gift catalog – there are plenty of things in there that one would put on a wish list. Only a few of them stand a chance of showing up when the time for gift-giving arrives.

The bigger table-setter comes in two weeks, when Governor Hochul will deliver her Executive Budget proposal – that’s the document in which she’ll outline how she would pay for all the items in the state-of-the-state and, in Albany, the unofficial start to a 10-week period of horse trading.

Governor Hochul would reimagine, streamline, innovate, collaborate, and create all kinds of new world-class ideas for every corner of New York under the speech she gave today, though; here are a few of the highlights that would have the most immediate potential impact on Otsego County:

Health care

  • $2 billion to support healthcare worker wages, and an additional $2 billion to similarly support mental hygiene worker wages; her presentation calls for retention bonuses of up to $3,000 for healthcare and front line workers who stay on the job for a 12-month period.
  • $500 million cost-of-living adjustment for human services workers.
  • Waive the requirement that nurse practitioners have a written practice agreement with a physician, something the governor called “an obstacle that stands in the way of nurse practitioners providing maximum health care to New Yorkers.”
  • Reforms for nursing home and long-term care facilities.

Agriculture / Tourism / Economic development

  • Tax credit for small business COVID-related purchases, such as outdoor heaters and seating.
  • Make permanent a restaurant’s ability to sell to-go drinks.
  • Tax credit for overtime paid to farm workers
  • Doubling of the Farm Workforce Retention Credit
  • Enhance New York’s hemp-growing industry
  • Additional tax reforms for small businesses
  • Improvements to rural broadband
  • Enhanced funding for the New York State Council on the Arts

Public safety

  • In what appears to be the opening salvo in a battle with the state Legislature over bail reform, the governor’s presentation booklet calls for this: “Statewide pretrial reform was implemented without the necessary resources or coordination needed to help localities adopt new approaches to pretrial services that ensure public safety. Governor Hochul will directly address concerns about public safety by providing dedicated funding to support pretrial services for localities outside of New York City.”
  • A ‘Jail-to-Jobs’ initiative seeking a path for those incarcerated in New York State to learn skills necessary for employment upon release.

Government reform

  • Impose a two-term limit for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller
  • Abolish and replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics

Read the entirety of Governor Hochul’s proposal at https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2022-01/2022StateoftheStateBook.pdf.


2 thoughts on “Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

  1. Tim Iversen

    Did Hochul address education at all? School employees are seriously burned out, retiring and resigning far faster than they can be replaced. Every school I know of is short-handed for subs, bus drivers, teachers and aides, etc. Not addressing this (and not just pointing the finger at Hochul, but the legislature as well) seems like a recipe for disaster not too far down the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Prove you're not a robot: *