Gov. Cuomo delivers State of the State annual address
NEW YORK STATE--Despite saying New York state is suffering during the Monday, Jan. 11 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked about the priorities for the new year he says will help the economy and residents of New York. With a budgetary shortfall on pace to be in the billions, and COVID-19 still impacting all aspects of business and the government, Cuomo again asked for additional federal government aid.
"New York state pays more to the federal government and receives less than every other state... New York subsidizes 42 other states... so what is the State of the State? New York is suffering, and New Yorkers are tired of being abused and demands that Washington stop causing damage and start (repairing it)," Cuomo said on Monday.
Cuomo mentioned for decades the federal government has used New York to subsidize other states with lower tax rates who in turn advertise to New York businesses to leave.
Cuomo repeatedly blamed the presidential administration in Washington for exacerbating the effects of the COVID pandemic both on the healthcare and financial fronts. He added that even if New York raised taxes, cut education funding, froze state worker salaries and more it would still result in a budgetary shortfall of billions.
"Our federal representatives must deliver fairness to New York," Cuomo said.
As far as legislative goals for the upcoming year, Cuomo said small businesses will have their taxes lowered, adult use of recreational cannabis will be legalized, broadband access will be expanded and the state will launch a new construction and transportation program Cuomo said would be the most aggressive in the nation.
"We need to jumpstart the economy now (with) the most aggressive transportation and construction program in America... upstate and downstate (this) will create jobs, jobs and more jobs... New York knows how to build, we've proved it... and now is the time to do it," Cuomo stated.
A key part of rebuilding will be increased financial aid for small businesses, which Cuomo said should include not only eviction protection but also state funding to help restart a business affected by the pandemic.
Cuomo also touched on climate change, which he said outside of the immediate threat is the most substantial issue facing New York.
"We (want) a green economy program that is the strongest in the country...Climate change is the existential threat (and) New York will be the green capital of the world," Cuomo added.
Cuomo also spent time discussing the immediate challenges the state still faces regarding COVID, saying the state will remain paralyzed until rapid testing and the vaccines are readily available to every New Yorker. While critical of Trump and Congress, Cuomo said he is far more hopeful federal aid will be forthcoming under the administration of incoming President-Elect Joe Biden.
"We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass," Cuomo said. "The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely."
A positive sign in that regard occurred this past weekend in Buffalo where not only did the Buffalo Bills defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the playoffs, but early indications show the experiment to allow 6,700 fans to attend the game has been a success.