New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Delivers Speech at Marist
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at Marist on Thursday morning, releasing details regarding the state’s budget plan for 2018 and beyond.
Cuomo spoke for more than an hour about the progress being made on multiple fronts, both statewide and, locally, in Dutchess County. Several county executives and city officials were on hand for the budget announcement.
Cuomo referred to the new budget as an “action plan,” calling it a custom-design approach that promotes progress on the fronts of education, criminal justice, federal taxation implications, the economy and the environment.
The new budget includes a $25.7 billion in education in 2018, with closer to $30 billion expected for 2019. Cuomo also spoke of a new Excelsior scholarship program, and promoted a new SUNY program that offers free tuition to any in-state families making $110,000 a year or less.
Cuomo also listed several projects that are ongoing, including the continued push for a $15 minimum wage. The governor also praised the students of Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as their efforts to persuade state legislators to increase gun control continue following last Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. In addition, Cuomo also headlined a need for sensible gun safety in New York.
As sexual harassment claims continue to leak into the public eye, Cuomo outlined a new plan for fighting the harassment epidemic statewide. The governor looks to implement a new system that eliminates taxpayer funds for liability costs against harassment, as well as a single state-wide system that eliminates special rules implemented by local governments against the issue.
On the issue of the environment, Cuomo praised the 2014 bill to prohibit fracking in New York, and announced the allocation of $65 billion to combat algae blooms in some of New York’s largest lakes. Cuomo also alluded to what he called “insufficient” efforts by General Electric to clean up PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the Hudson River, and aims to sue the Environmental Protection Agency if the federal government opts to fund GE in future cleanup exploits.
Cuomo spent an extensive amount of time speaking about the recent tax bill passed by Congress, calling it “terrible for New York.” Cuomo spoke of several states that implement built-in state and income tax deductions that would get hit hardest by the bill. Cuomo looks to implement a new tax model in New York State, that runs on a payroll tax system that also includes a charitable deduction model.
The governor also listed three avenues of action for the state on this issue: changing the state tax codes, promoting political retaliation from opponents of the bill, and repealing the law or amending it in the current budget vote. Cuomo informed the crowd of a bipartisan bill developing among Long Island congress members, that looks to curb the current tax bill.
Cuomo praised the success of the economy during his tenure as governor, noting that there have been seven consecutive on-time budgets within New York’s state legislature. Cuomo noted that state income tax rates have dropped every year since he took office in 2011, and announced that families making less than $150,000 a year will see a 1% tax decrease in 2018 (5.5% down from 6.4% a year ago).
Cuomo insisted that more work is to be done regarding the issue, announcing a need for further reduction of local property tax rates, as well as more shared services between local governments. Cuomo also spoke of his reversal of a generations-long trend of exclusive allocation of funds to New York City and Long Island, announcing a $36 billion allocation plan to properly fund the Hudson Valley region and Upstate New York as a whole.
Finally, Cuomo alluded to continued progress being made on the topic of infrastructure. First, the governor announced a $20 million initiative to revitalize the downtown areas of New York’s cities and towns. Locally, the governor announced a $37 million allocation to renovate Newburgh’s Stewart International AIrport, as well as a $148 million funding that aims to solve Woodbury Commons’ traffic crisis.
Per the governor, Woodbury Commons visitors can also expect more involvement from Metro-North Railroad, in continued efforts to try and reduce automobile traffic. The shopping center is already running shuttles to Harriman, the closest Metro-North stop.