The state is the strongest it’s ever been, claimed Governor Andrew Cuomo during his Wednesday, January 13 State of the State speech in Albany—an address that called for financial commitments to such issues as homelessness, transportation and failing public infrastructure.
“The state of the state, my friends, is strong,” said Cuomo before unveiling a $145.3 billion budget proposal aimed at housing the homeless, bettering some of the city and state’s staple frameworks (like Penn Station and the Javits convention center) and boosting the Environmental Protection Fund. “Today I am proud to report to the 239th legislature that we stand stronger than at any point in recent history. The Empire State is poised to grow and to lead.”
Additionally, the governor called for raising the minimum wage to $15, cutting small-business taxes and freezing Thruway tolls—promises some local politicians were happy to hear.
“Governor Cuomo has left no stone unturned regarding the best interests of the State of New York,” said Democratic Councilmember Vincent Gentile, commending Cuomo specifically for wanting to up the minimum wage, modernize the New York City subway system and strengthen the Environmental Protection Fund.
Democratic Assemblymember Pamela Harris agreed.
“Today the governor outlined his ambitious agenda to create more opportunities for our families and state to move forward,” said the recently elected pol, noting that she was especially inspired by Cuomo’s stance on the new minimum wage. “In his address, the governor highlighted plans for infrastructure improvements. This core element will benefit the downstate region and provide an economic boost in the form of construction jobs. However, these plans must be carefully studied to ensure all basic needs – including those of our Brooklyn commuters – are met.”
On the other side of the aisle, there is some concern.
Although I have found common ground in the governor’s 2016 plan, I have serious concerns about the adverse economic impact to New York City,” said Republican State Senator Marty Golden, notably happy to hear about Cuomo’s commitment to creating jobs and improving mass transit.
“Governor Cuomo is now asking the taxpayers of the Big Apple to shoulder the expense of an overzealous spending plan. Contribution increases to the City University of New York, the cost of Medicaid growth statewide, and efforts to create and maintain affordable and supportive housing throughout the state are among his requests,” the Bay Ridge pol went on. “Equally concerning is the governor’s $100 billion capital plan that will most certainly increase the state’s debt which the taxpayers of New York City will someday have to pay.”
Republican Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis agreed.
“Today, Governor Cuomo announced a costly agenda that does not respect the state’s hardworking taxpayers,” she said. “We do not live in an imaginary utopia, where taxpayer money grows on trees and is unlimited. The amount our state currently has in surplus and settlements won’t even come close to covering these outlandish ideas, which means the balance will be made up with high taxes and more debt. My constituents do not work hard every day and pay taxes to fund political campaigns and tuition assistance for illegal immigrants.
“This childish competition between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio on who is more ‘progressive’ is going to crush the middle-class and drive taxpayers and businesses out of the state,” Malliotakis added.