NY Gov. Hochul gives State of the State speech

New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State Address on Wednesday, laying out an ambitious agenda to help New York recover from the pandemic. 

Hochul, the Empire State's first female executive, said the time has come for a new American dream.

"A better, fairer, more inclusive version that I call the New York dream," Hochul said, as she closed out her first State of the State speech as governor.

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It’s a dream made up of more than 220 proposals that filled a hardbound book she brought with her to the podium. 

Hochul's proposals include a $10 billion plan to grow the state's healthcare workforce by 20% and to increase wages and bonuses.

"They're not only physically exhausted," Hochul said, "they’re emotionally exhausted too."

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On climate change, she wants to invest $1.5 billion with the goal of seeing one-third of New York City powered by either wind, solar, or hydroelectricity.

To ease some of the pandemic's economic pain, she says she will accelerate the already planned phase-in of $1.2 billion dollars in middle-class tax cuts. And she's calling for a billion dollars in property tax rebates for millions of middle and low-income residents.

She also says she plans to bring back and legalize alcohol to-go statewide— a staple for restaurants and bars for a 15-month period during the pandemic.

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"Every single initiative is filtered through the lens of how it will help you and your families," Hochul said.

On transportation-- specifically for Brooklyn and Queens, she's proposing using an existing freight rail line and turning it into a commuter line. In a release sent out later, her office says that line could get passengers from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Jackson Heights, Queens, in roughly 40 minutes.

And, in a nod to increasing gun violence and aware of criticisms from Republicans— and even some moderates in her own party-- Hochul says she wants to find more funding for more police officers and prosecutors.

She also wants to place term limits on politicians holding statewide office. This would include the office of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller.

Democratic strategist and director of the public policy program at Hunter College Basil Smikle says that could be controversial "because people do like some continuity, they do like longevity because that helps establish relationships over periods of time."

"But I do believe that after Andrew Cuomo's tenure, there's going to be a bigger call-- and certainly has been-- for some restrictions on the amassing of power over time," Smikle added.

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Something else that might not sit well with some in the legislature—a proposed ban on statewide legislators earning outside incomes.

Today, by physically returning to the assembly chamber after years that saw Cuomo choosing offsite locations for the high profile address, Hochul sent a message that she intends to work much more closely with other elected leaders.

"The days of governors disregarding the rightful role of this legislature are over," Hochul said. "The days of the governor of New York and mayor of New York City wasting time on petty rivalries are over."