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Governor Kathy Hochul became the first woman to deliver the annual State of the State Address in New York on Wednesday, which was a marked change from years past. There was no pomp or circumstance that usually accompanies the event. The reduced opportunity was in part due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

But the lack of flashy graphics, outlets, and applause in a crowded room was also noticeable. It was just the governor, in an unoccupied assembly hall, acknowledging that we were still in a pandemic that requires a strong response to bolster the state’s strained health infrastructure.

“That’s why I’m setting myself an ambitious goal of 20% growth in our health care workforce over the next five years. And we will make the largest investment in health care in state history. … $ 10 billion. “

It also offers a retention bonus of up to three thousand dollars for healthcare workers and direct care to stop the bleeding. There is relief for families as well. Hochul says part of his plan begins with property taxes.

“We will provide a billion dollar property tax refund to over two million homeowners. And help parents get back to work. We will expand access to affordable child care to 100,000 families with higher salary caregivers. “

Hochul says she will also speed up a $ 1.2 billion tax cut for six million taxpayers.

It also offers $ 100 million in aid for small businesses, including ailing restaurants and bars. Farmers will get overtime tax credits and a doubling of the farm labor retention credit. Hochul is also planning investments in workforce development programs to better match people with training and employment to address the shortage of skilled workers.

“We will encourage success by tying some of the workforce funding to high placement rates, and we will make it easier to qualify as an MWBE so that everyone has access to opportunities. “

MWBE stands for Minority and Women Owned Enterprises.

Hochul also vowed to restore faith and confidence in the government, including previously announced plans to impose two term limits on state officials.

“For government to work, those of us in power cannot continue to hang on to it. We must continually pass the baton to new leaders with different perspectives and new ideas. should be to serve the people of New York. “

Wednesday’s address marks the start of the legislative session and soon, the budget season, where many of Hochul’s more than 220 proposals will be debated. She says she hopes to build on the progress of her first 134 days in office, where she signed more than 400 bills.

SENATORS SATISFIED

The two Syracuse region state senators say they are satisfied with what they heard in Governor Kathy Hochul’s state of the state address. Senator Rachel May was pleased to hear of a strong commitment to supporting the stressed health workforce by investing in recruitment and retention programs.

“We face critical staffing issues at all levels, so his focus on increasing wages and helping more people enter the workforce is welcome. home care options for New York families and decent wages for home care workers, ” May said in a statement.

She says she also supports the proposed income and property tax cuts.

Senator John Mannion agrees that tax relief should be high on the agenda. He also says investment in public health and other direct care workers is desperately needed to recover from the pandemic.

“The $ 500 million for human service agencies is a necessary investment to strengthen a besieged and exhausted workforce. I am committed to ensuring that these funds – and additional funds – are directed to the OPWDD and the disability community. “

Both senators said the proposed support for small businesses, job creation and investment in public education is the way forward for the coming year.

OPTIMIST BUSINESS GROUP

The head of the region’s leading business leadership organization said today’s state-of-the-state address by Governor Kathy Hochul makes it clear that New York has entered a new era of leadership. Centerstate President and CEO Rob Simpson in a statement applauds his commitment to better meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, but especially small businesses with tax breaks and workforce development initiatives . He also appreciates the Governor’s emphasis on investments in ready-to-go sites.

“New York must also be prepared to compete for new opportunities that will emerge across the country as companies relocate their operations and develop new assets in the United States. vital and rapid progress is being made by a wave of tech startups that have been launched over the past two years ”, Simpson said.