Governor presents budget and ‘Justice Agenda’
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered his 2019 State of the State Address on Tuesday and presented a budget that is balanced and holds spending growth below 2 percent for the ninth consecutive year.
“In the face of unprecedented challenges on a national level and a federal government at a complete standstill, New York will deliver on the most productive agenda in our history and build on our record of accomplishments,” Cuomo said. “This is a true Justice Agenda that ensures our neediest schools receive an equitable share of funds, advances historic criminal justice reform, safeguards our health care, protects the rights of women in our state from the federal government, and leads the nation in fight against climate change and contaminants in our environment and our water. While extreme conservatives in Washington govern by division and fuel dysfunction, New York State will raise the beacon of progress and take action to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
The governor has proposed a $175.2 billion budget, which he said continues a phase-in of middle class tax cuts, dropping from 6 to 5.5 percent, as well as an up to 20 percent cut in income tax rates for the middle class.
The governor presented a Justice Agenda that includes:
• Ending an unjust and discriminatory cash bail system
• Advancing reproductive justice and women’s equality by passing RHA and a constitutional amendment to codify Roe v. Wade into state law, passing ERA, increasing protections against sexual harassment in the workplace, modernizing pay equity law, reducing maternal mortality and morbidity and racial disparities, and more
• Strengthening gun laws by passing a Red Flag Law and extending the background check waiting period to 10 days
• Protecting LGBTQ rights by passing the Gender Identity and Expression Non-Discrimination Act and banning conversion therapy once and for all
• Removing corporate money from politics by closing the LLC loophole and banning corporate campaign contributions
• Making voting easier with universal vote by mail, statewide early voting, same-day voter registration, making election day a state holiday, and other reforms
• Passing the DREAM Act and opening the doors of higher education to thousands of New Yorkers
• Investing an additional $150 billion into the state’s infrastructure program
• Launching the Green New Deal — a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will combat climate change and put the state on a path to carbon neutrality
• Expanding protections for public-sector union members
• Codifying key ACA provisions into law, including coverage for pre-existing conditions
• Investing an additional $2.5 billion in clean water infrastructure to ensure the quality of our drinking water for generations to come
• Legalizing the adult use (21+) of marijuana and reducing the impacts of criminalization that affect communities of color
• Achieving economic justice by continuing the phase-in of middle class tax cuts, extending the millionaire’s tax, and making the highly successful property tax cap permanent
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement about the governor’s “State of the State” address:
“Gov. Cuomo sold out any remaining hint of pragmatic and moderate governance to the far left in order to secure his re-election. His policy wish-list makes it abundantly clear that he sides more with the radical socialist movement than middle-class New Yorkers.
“An increase in welfare spending, exorbitant taxes and fees and no clear plan on addressing our state’s embarrassing exodus rate were all highlighted in the governor’s policy circus.
“Despite the governor’s agenda, I will continue to beat the drum for our region and seek infrastructure investment, new charitable gaming laws, tax and regulatory relief for small businesses and an end to big government handouts to illegals and those who refuse to work.”
Bob Duffy, Cuomo’s lieutenant governor his first four years as governor, is now president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Duffy issued this statement:
“Rochester Chamber looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the state legislature to ensure businesses have the opportunity to grow and prosper by reducing burdensome mandates and regulations and promoting economic investment. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has grown to 8.2 million private sector jobs and unemployment has dropped below 4 percent. We appreciate the governor’s commitment to workforce and economic development, particularly by proposing a $4.4 billion investment in upstate infrastructure and promoting high-tech workforce training as well as a new round of Regional Economic Development Council and Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding. These investments have already proven invaluable to our region and to the entire state.”