Governor Andrew Cuomo put the focus on social, economic and racial justice in his State of the State.
“From the social justice front to rebuilding infrastructure to investing in clean water resources and investing in our upstate communities, I think we’re really well aligned and we’re excited for what’s to come,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.
This is the first time during Cuomo’s administration that both the state assembly and senate are democratic majorities. The governor and the aligned lawmakers say this allows them to be more aggressive and ambitious with their agendas.
“We’ve gotten more accomplished in the last couple of days than we have in the last session when it comes to realistic campaign finance reforms and other matters that we took up today, so I’m pretty optimistic,” said Donna Lupardo of the 123rd Assembly District.
Cuomo’s address lasted more than an hour, but didn’t mention upstate specific issues. He focused on statewide policies like the Child Victims Act, and advancing the women’s agenda.
“While the agenda is broad advanced on social issues, it does carry some concerns to me as a county executive in terms of public safety, in terms of public health, and in terms of overall community well-being,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente (R).
Cuomo also promised lower taxes for the middle class. So the question is, where will the funding come from?
He proposed legalizing adult marijuana, which he says will create $300 million in revenue.
“There’s only one reason and one reason only were only talking about legalizing marijuana and that’s taxes,” said Senate Bob Antonacci. “I guess I’d ask this question — if we were going to have no tax at all would we still legalize it? The answer’s no.”
While lawmakers are split on Cuomo’s proposals, they say it’s hard to make a final judgement right now. Lawmakers say the devil is in the details and they plan on learning more in the coming weeks