January 11, 2021
From New York State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli:
“Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State message outlined a strong agenda for New York as we navigate through unprecedented challenges. I commend the Governor for his emphasis on beating the COVID-19 pandemic and on improving public health. The Governor properly underscored the urgency of federal assistance to address the economic and revenue damage New York has suffered. In the coming days, I look forward to hearing his proposals on other key issues, including racial equality, criminal justice reform and improving the election process.”
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“The governor presented an ambitious agenda today; however, we really need to see more details on how he plans to pay for his agenda and address our state’s projected $15 billion budget deficit. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of discussion by the governor and legislative leaders about raising taxes. Now is not the time to burden residents of New York state with more job-killing taxes that will cause a further exodus of businesses and families from New York. As we move forward during the 2021 Legislative Session, it is critically important that the governor and Legislature work together to open up our state’s economy and provide much-needed assistance for the many small businesses, farmers, manufacturers, workers and families who have been crushed by his state-mandated closures, shutdowns and restrictions. We must jumpstart and revitalize our state’s economy and get people back to work. It is important to remember that COVID is not just a public health crisis, it is an economic crisis which requires bold, broad and aggressive action to provide much-needed tax, regulatory and unfunded mandate relief to help those who have been devastated by the governor’s economic closures and restrictions.”
From Senator Tom O’Mara:
“State government is still being operated by Cuomo executive order and that needs to end as soon as possible. First and foremost, the Legislature needs to reclaim its decision-making authority for this critical legislative session ahead of us. I have stressed throughout the COVID-19 response over the past ten months that we need to be ready, once we weather this storm, to start an open and full discussion on the best ways to move forward for this entire state, upstate and downstate. It is going to require a restructuring of New York government, strengthening the state-local partnership, and getting to work rebuilding New York with the right priorities, long-overdue commonsense reforms, and fiscal responsibility. Right now all I’m hearing from Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders is that we need to desperately search for more revenue, including higher taxes and more borrowing, so that the state can afford an unprecedented spending spree in the years ahead. I look forward to joining my Senate Republican colleagues throughout the coming weeks and months to put forth strategies and work to ensure that our upstate regions don’t get left behind in the unprecedented rebuilding and restructuring effort that we’re facing.”
From State Senator George Borrello:
“New York State has greeted 2021 with an imperative: to rebuild and reset our state in the wake of the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, there were areas of the Governor’s address that suggest common ground with several of the priorities advanced in the ‘Reset New York’ agenda unveiled last week by myself and my Senate Republican colleagues, which is encouraging.
“Yet, also notable was the outsize emphasis the Governor placed on the federal government and its responsibility to provide financial aid to help close our state’s $15 billion deficit. While the federal government does have a role to play in our recovery, more focus belongs on the state’s culture of overspending and its burdensome tax and regulatory environment, which are persistent obstacles to our economic strength. Before COVID descended on our state in 2020, we were facing a $6 billion budget deficit. Now is the time to revisit and reform our spending.”
“I was glad to hear him say that New York cannot afford another statewide shutdown while we wait for full distribution of the COVID vaccine. The economic damage, job losses and educational harm to our children that resulted from our spring shutdown were catastrophic and will take years to recover from. Another wide-scale shutdown at this point could set us behind for a generation.
“It was a positive to hear him highlight the critical importance of accessible, affordable broadband service for New Yorkers. While I agree with his position that broadband needs to be more affordable, the best way to achieve that goal is to reduce the ever-increasing taxes, fees and regulations that he keeps piling on providers. Those burdens are harming the goal of broadening access to still unserved, rural areas of the state as well as the goal of making internet service more affordable. It was disappointing to hear him still insist that broadband coverage in the state is at 98 percent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
“I was glad to hear him acknowledge that the spiking crime rate in our cities is unacceptable and must be addressed. From day one, my colleagues and I predicted that the disastrous criminal justice reforms passed in 2019 would set public safety back decades and result in the rising victimization of innocent individuals. The Governor acknowledged this horrific problem as well as the reality that 94 percent of shooting victims have been from black and brown communities – the same communities who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. However, there were no specific proposals mentioned, so we will have to reserve judgement on his solutions until we know more details.
“While today’s address was short on details, we will be learning more in the days ahead on the Governor’s plans on these and a range of issues. At this critical time for our state, I will be scrutinizing each one for its potential to rebuild our economy, create jobs, improve our weakened public safety efforts and close the dangerous educational gap that has resulted from the loss of in-school learning. Our ability to successfully address these problems will determine our future.”