Reaction to Hochul’s State of the State

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 January 2022 at 8:54 am

Praise for proposals to invest in agriculture, healthcare and education

Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address on Wednesday. Here are some of the reactions from local state legislators and leaders of organizations representing agriculture, businesses, healthcare workers and teachers.

NY Farm Bureau President David Fisher issued this statement: “Gov. Hochul announced sweeping investments in agriculture in her first State of the State Address. Her goals match what our farmers are seeking, a strengthening of our local food system, financial support for climate smart practices happening on farms across the state and easing the burden of rising labor costs that are crushing New York agriculture and limiting production. We applaud her for making agriculture a focus of her agenda.

“New York’s farms play an essential role in feeding our state, providing good jobs on and off the farm, and supporting local economies. New York Farm Bureau looks forward to seeing the details in the governor’s budget proposal and working with her and the state legislature on these goals that will allow agriculture to grow for the benefit of our entire state.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia: “In a time of crisis, as we face issues related to our economy, public health and public safety, we cannot keep rehashing the same tired ideas that have proven to be ineffective solutions to serious problems.

“While I appreciate the governor’s rhetoric in support of small businesses during a time when they and our residents are leaving the state in droves, we should be talking about meaningfully cutting taxes and easing regulations to enable their success in the long-term. Of equal importance is our need to focus on restoring order to our increasingly dangerous streets, following the passage of bail reform.

“Having served as assemblyman while Gov. Hochul served as our district’s congresswoman, it would be a pleasure to work together in earnest to make New York work for everyday New Yorkers once again. We must all come together to restore the authority of our local governments and judges.”

Assemblyman Mike Norris, R-Lockport: “It was truly refreshing that a Western New Yorker addressed the Legislature as governor for the first time in over a century. I was pleased to see Gov. Hochul call for term limits for statewide elected officials and changes to the state ethics board.

“We need to address these proposals immediately in order to restore trust in our state government. However, I remain concerned about her progressive agenda being put forth and the lack of any real effort on her part to repeal these dangerous ‘bail reforms’ measures that have made our communities less safe. It’s time we get back to the basics and prioritize what is important to New Yorkers and to turn around our economy.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta: “Gov. Hochul has brought a breath of fresh air to Albany. Her agenda sets ambitious goals for addressing the issues our state faces.

“The promise to fully fund Foundation Aid is a momentous first step toward supporting our public schools as the center of every community. Pledges to boost mental health supports and staffing levels mark a clear commitment to meeting the social-emotional needs of students. The governor also is heeding the pre-pandemic calls of educators to address staffing shortages in schools statewide and to diversify the education workforce by finding innovative ways to get more New Yorkers to take a look at teaching as a career. We will continue working with her administration to bring to life our Future Forward agenda for public schools this year.

“It is positive to see Gov. Hochul prioritize higher education and health care and propose ways to address the financial barriers that stand in the way of more New Yorkers obtaining a post-secondary education. We look forward to digging further into the details of her agenda for SUNY and CUNY.

“We await the governor’s budget proposal later this month, and we’ll continue advocating throughout the legislative session on behalf of our members in education, human services and health care who day in and day out selflessly dedicate themselves to the New Yorkers they serve.”

New York State Association of Counties President Marte Sauerbrey: “Governor Kathy Hochul laid out a wide ranging agenda to move New York forward and tackle the immense challenges that our state faces as it confronts a stubborn pandemic and unsettled economy.

“Counties welcome the new spirit of cooperation that the Governor brings to this moment and we look forward to working with her in the legislative session to advance our shared goals of ending the pandemic, strengthening our public health care system, developing our workforce to meet the needs of the modern economy, supporting local businesses and reversing our recent population decline.

“As has been proven over and over throughout this extraordinary period of history: while state leaders make laws and policies, its often up to counites to get it done. In the coming week’s we’ll be working with the Governor and the legislature to ensure that counties have the resources and flexibility we need to build a better New York State.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy: “Governor Hochul offered an optimistic and encouraging message for the year ahead, even as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on businesses and communities in our region and far beyond. Now is the time to put words into action, and Greater Rochester Chamber supports the Governor’s efforts to do that.

“If we hope to revitalize our regional economy, we need to reduce taxes and mandates, encourage outside investment by incentivizing companies and individuals to come to New York, resolve the workforce shortages being faced by nearly every sector of our economy, eliminate the red tape and bureaucracy that impede business and local government from succeeding, and promote corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices that will keep New York safe and relevant.

“I applaud the proposed income and property tax cuts for the middle class that will help combat the current state of inflation. Expanding access to affordable childcare, investing one billion dollars into small businesses, and offering tax credits to cover Covid-related purchases will help to jumpstart our economy and offer respite to the thousands of businesses who have struggled these last two years.

“By far the most common issue we hear from business leaders is access to qualified talent. Up-skilling and re-skilling existing workers, partnering with school districts and higher education institutions to ensure that their curricula meet the current needs, and offering incentives to recruit and retain existing workers will prove beneficial in combatting our workforce shortages. Greater Rochester Chamber is proud to be the regional lead for talent strategy and workforce development, and we offer our full support to Governor Hochul’s efforts around workforce training.

I have faith in Governor Hochul’s ability to accomplish the goals she set out, and stand ready to help her administration make New York better and stronger than ever.”

George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East: “As we head into the third year of a pandemic that has lasted longer than expected, Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State honors the work and sacrifices that 1199SEIU members have endured.

“We are pleased to see the Governor is making a significant commitment to invest in the current healthcare workforce, increasing the number of new workers joining the workforce, and moving them along their career pathway. We are also glad to see industry-wide solutions, including a new portal for potential healthcare workers and others seeking training. While we await more details in the budget proposal, we do have key questions about support for vital safety net institutions that have provided lifesaving care during this pandemic and about how the need for permanent wage increases will be addressed.”