In State of the State, Hochul tells New Yorkers she heard their concerns
Keshia Clukey, Gregory Korte and Donna Borak are reporting for Bloomberg New York Governor Kathy Hochul focused her first major policy address since the general election on crime and inflation. “We will make New York safer. We will make New York more affordable,” the Buffalo Democrat said in her State of the State address January 10. If New Yorkers do not feel safe or they cannot afford a rent or mortgage, “people will leave in pursuit of their dreams elsewhere,” she said, referencing a significant population decline that led to the state losing a congressional seat. Hochul, 64, the state’s first female governor, begins her first full term with various challenges including rising inflation, a slowing economy, a growing state budget gap and the lingering effects of the pandemic on major issues such as crime, housing, health care and transit. Polls show crime at the top of that list. “There has been no aspect of the discussion around public safety more controversial than bail reform,” she said, expressing a willingness to revisit the bail law. She said parts of the law are contradictory or confusing, and proposed changing the standard that judges use to set bail for more serious crimes. A Siena College poll last month found that crime and the cost of living topped the concerns of New York voters, with nine in 10 saying crime was a “serious issue.” The upcoming legislative term will also test Hochul’s ability to hash out the state’s more than $200 billion budget. She will have to calculate how to fund proposals to add 800,000 housing units, invest $1 billion into overhauling the state’s mental health system, deliver additional tax credits for childcare, curb greenhouse gases, expand the state’s health-care services and index the state’s $15-an-hour minimum wage to inflation. In one of her signature issues, Hochul called for building 800,000 units of new housing over the next 10 years. As part of her “New York Housing Compact,” she announced plans to require municipalities to rezone areas around transit stops to allow for greater density, legalize basement apartments and fast-track certain mixed-income, multifamily projects. Hochul proposed to make New York the first state in the US to ban natural gas heating and appliances and she called for the state to ban the use of fossil fuels by 2025 for newly built smaller structures and 2028 for larger ones. The state would also prohibit the sale of any new fossil-fuel heating systems starting in 2030. Read the full story at bloomberg [dot] com.