"New Era for New York" Agenda Includes 228 Bold Initiatives to Kick-Start New York's Comeback
$10 Billion Healthcare Plan Will Rebuild and Grow Workforce, Deliver Direct Payments to Workers
Major Ethics Reforms Will Limit Statewide Elected Officials to Two Terms, Ban Outside Income and Replace JCOPE with New Independent Ethics Agency
Billion Dollar Rescue Plan Will Help Small Businesses Come Back, Middle Class Tax Relief Will Lift Up Millions of New Yorkers
Infrastructure Investments Will Expand Transit in New York City and Lead the Nation in Climate Action
State of the State Book Available Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today delivered her 2022 State of the State Address outlining her plan for A New Era for New York. In the address, Governor Hochul outlined nine key components of her agenda: rebuilding our healthcare economy, protecting public safety and taking strong action against gun violence, investing in New York’s people, investing in New York’s communities, making New York’s housing system more affordable, equitable, and stable, making New York a national leader in climate action and green jobs, rebuilding New York’s teacher workforce and reimagining higher education, advancing New York’s place as a national equity model, and making critical reforms to restore New Yorkers’ faith in their government.
The Governor's remarks as prepared are available below:
Thank you, Lieutenant Governor. You have been doing an outstanding job in such a short time and I’m proud to have you by my side as we deliver for the people of New York.
I also want to thank my partners in government. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, State Attorney General Tish James, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and I hope Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie gets well soon.
And thank you to Pastor Soloman Dees and to Allie Navarette, for representing the Girl Scouts so well.
As I stand before you, I am well aware of the significance of this moment: the first time in New York’s history that a woman has delivered this annual address. But I didn’t come here to make history. I came to make a difference.
To be sure, I have a deep reverence for our State’s remarkable past. And we’re honoring it by coming together in this beautiful Assembly Chamber, its original, and rightful, setting with elected leaders, joined together to serve the public.
I’m fond of quoting a former member of this body, and one-time Governor, Teddy Roosevelt, who said: “It’s not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man – or, shall we say, the woman – who is actually in the arena.”
To my colleagues and partners in government, for too long, Albany’s Executive and Legislative branches were fighting each other in that arena. No more. That ends now.
What I am proposing is a whole New Era for New York. The days of Governors disregarding the rightful role of this legislature are over. The days of the Governor of New York and Mayor of New York City wasting time on petty rivalries are over. The days of New Yorkers questioning whether their government is actually working for them are over.
And the days of three men in a room are clearly over – just ask the Majority Leader.
We know that women are always held to a higher standard. So I know that I must not just meet but exceed expectations for this to no longer be an historic achievement… but rather the norm. So we will do things differently. From now on: we will share success. We will find common ground. We will restore trust in this government, because it has been eroded for far too long. And we will fight like hell – not for turf…not for credit – but for New Yorkers.
I’ve been proud to stand with the members of this legislature, signing more than 400 of your bills into law since September. And we’re just getting started.
New Yorkers need the help of everyone in this room to pass an ambitious agenda. One that responds to the Covid-19 pandemic but also rebuilds our healthcare and teacher workforces, provides tax relief to those who need it most, speeds up economic growth and creates good paying, middle-class jobs, strengthens our infrastructure and confronts climate change, secures public safety, makes housing more affordable, ensures every New Yorker has a roof over their heads and enacts bold reforms for our State government.
My fellow New Yorkers: This agenda is for you.
Every single initiative is filtered through the lens of how it will help you and your families. I know you’re exhausted, I know you want this pandemic to be over, I know you’re worried about the economy, inflation, your kids and their education and what the future holds.
We’ve endured so much hardship over these past two years. We’ve buried loved ones, experienced seismic shifts in our daily lives and missed out on so many of life’s precious milestones – holidays, weddings, graduations,the birth of a grandchild.
There has been so much loss – of too many lives, and of too many of our hopes and dreams. And now, just when we thought we were turning a corner, there’s a new variant. Another surge in cases. It feels like déjà vu.
And I know you’re all asking: Will we ever get through this?
Yes. We will.
We’re New Yorkers. We’ve been knocked down before. We’ve been counted out. And in response, we never fail to defy the odds and rise to new heights.
New York always rises from the ashes. That is why I believe that this is not a moment of despair….but a moment of great possibility. Because while we are in the midst of an all-consuming crisis we must also remember that if we make the right choices, right now it will end.
But first, we must weather the storm around us. That means controlling this virus and not letting it control us.
When I took office, we immediately enacted a comprehensive pandemic plan and we’ve continued to adapt as new variants like Omicron have emerged. We’re doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers healthy: setting policies that have made our vaccination rate one of the highest in the country, activating a military-style operation with vax and test sites, deploying the National Guard to our hospitals and nursing homes and sending out 37 million tests across the state.
During this winter surge, our laser focus is on keeping our kids in school, businesses open and New Yorkers’ lives as normal as possible.
We are attacking this virus head-on, armed with a tactical, science-based approach and we are ready for whatever comes next.
But as we all know too well, this is more than a public health crisis. We now need to support the people, places and industries hit hardest starting with the New Yorkers who have been on the frontlines since day one.
During those terrifying early months, while many hunkered down at home our healthcare workers and first responders showed up, day after day, night after night, double shift after double shift, putting their lives on the line to save others.
They’re not only physically exhausted – they’re emotionally exhausted too. I’ve seen it in their eyes, in hospitals from Buffalo to Potsdam just last week.
That exhaustion combined with pre-existing staffing shortages, has resulted in a crisis. We simply do not have enough healthcare workers in our hospitals or in our long-term care facilities in our ambulances or in the homes of our loved ones.
The health of every New Yorker depends on a strong, stable, and equitable healthcare system and healthcare workers are its very foundation. Bold action is required – before any more time passes.
First, we must stop the current hemorrhaging of healthcare workers and we’re going to do it not just by SAYING we owe them a debt of gratitude but actually PAYING them the debt we owe, starting with a retention bonus of up to $3,000 to our health and direct care workers and we will drive higher salaries throughout the healthcare workforce, so those doing God’s work here on earth are no longer doing it for minimum wage.
Beyond salary, we will make it easier for doctors and nurses from other States to practice with their existing licenses here in New York. We’ll expand the capacity of our medical institutions so more students can train for high-demand healthcare jobs, and we’ll make it possible for them to get that training with free tuition and stipends if they remain here after they graduate.
A once-in-a-lifetime pandemic demands a once-in-a-lifetime response:
That’s why I’m setting an ambitious goal to grow our healthcare workforce by 20% over the next five years. And we will make the largest investment in healthcare in State history, $10 billion dollars. As we bolster our bone-tired healthcare workforce, we know they aren’t the only heroes of the pandemic.
I am so grateful to the county leaders, school superintendents, administrators, parents and teachers for working so closely with us … to get kids back to school this week.
The role of a teacher is irreplaceable in a child’s life and as the past two years have hammered home, they’re irreplaceable in a parent’s life, too.
As a mother, I know this first hand. This workforce is also stressed and overworked. So we will ramp up efforts to recruit and retain teachers – with more effective training and support, faster and easier certification, and stronger career pipelines and ladders.
And we will add more mental health professionals in schools to heal the wounds inflicted during the isolation of remote learning. Others are hurting as well. Families, small business owners, farmers – they all need our help. They need it now and they’re going to get it.
We will accelerate a $1.2 billion-dollar tax cut originally scheduled to take effect between now and 2025, so that it all occurs earlier. That means more than 6 million middle-class taxpayers get more money in their pockets sooner at a time when inflation is robbing them of any gains in income.
To help with property taxes, we will provide a $1 billion middle-class property tax rebate to more than 2 million homeowners. And to help parents get back to work, we’re going to expand access to affordable childcare to 100,000 more working families and invest $75 million in childcare worker wages.
We will also deliver $100 million in much-needed relief to nearly 200,000 small businesses, to keep their doors open and weather what the next few months bring. These businesses are the economic engines of small towns and big cities alike, they’re what make our communities unique and give them personality.
I should know, I’ve shopped and eaten in diners in most of them.
I also helped my mother open a flower shop and my sister start a small tech company, so I know firsthand how hard it is. I know the risks taken by owners and entrepreneurs, and the barriers faced by women. So many small businesses were pushed to the brink. Thousands of bars and restaurants – the souls of our neighborhoods – have had to close.
For others, hanging on by a thread, survival depends on whether they can create more space outdoors, a tough task during our New York winters. To help offset these costs, we will provide a tax credit for COVID-related purchases, like outdoor heaters and seating. And we’re also going to do something bars and restaurants have been asking for….to once again allow the sale of to-go drinks – a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year.
Cheers, New York.
The farmers who supply restaurant kitchens – and our own – need a lifeline as well. I’ve visited farms from Genesee County to the North Fork of Long Island, and life is tough, even in good years. So we’re going to support them through a tax credit for the overtime hours they are paying, an increase in the Investment Tax Credit and an extension and doubling of the Farm Workforce Retention Credit.
This will also begin to address the workforce shortage so many farms struggle with.
This is how we will begin to help healthcare workers, educators, small businesses, farms and families deal with the devastating economic impacts of COVID.
But beyond the pandemic, my agenda reflects my belief that we cannot allow the virus to grip us so tightly that it constrains us from looking to the future. Longing for a simple return to our pre-pandemic world and way of life would not only be timid and unimaginative. It would ignore our history and go against everything that makes New York, New York.
If we can’t embrace the possibilities that come out of times like these, then we fail to honor the legacy of the daring, visionary New Yorkers who came before us.
The portrait of Franklin Roosevelt that hangs above the mantle in the Governor’s residence is my daily reminder of what leadership during a crisis is all about. First as Governor, and then as President, FDR literally rebuilt the economy from the ground up after the crash of ‘29. More than giving people jobs, he gave people hope.
The policies of his New Deal didn’t just help families who lost everything, they spurred decades of economic growth and the birth of the middle class. Again and again, he focused on the storm swirling around him, but kept one eye on the horizon, always planning for the day when the clouds would part.
That is exactly what we are doing now. This pandemic did not create all the problems we’re facing today. It simply forced us to hold up a mirror and see the cracks in our society that had been too easy to ignore before. This crisis has created an opportunity to redefine ourselves – and we must embrace it.
But as we embark on this New Era for our State, we need to take a hard look in that mirror and deal with harsh realities. Like the fact that 300,000 New Yorkers left our State last year. That’s the steepest population drop of ANY State in the nation, an alarm bell that cannot be ignored. To those who left temporarily because of the pandemic or are trying to decide their next steps during these uncertain times, I have one message: you do not want to miss what’s going to happen next.
Right now, in real time, we are building a new New York worthy of your talents and ambitions. We’re going to jumpstart our economic recovery by being the most business-friendly and worker-friendly State in the nation.
To entice people and businesses, we’re investing millions of dollars to transform the downtowns of our cities into magnets for new jobs and new opportunities and position both legacy and emerging industries for success.
New York is already home to some of the most consequential industries in the world. Finance, retail, healthcare, technology, fashion, entertainment, just to name a few.
But there is plenty of room for growth. More shovel-ready sites for new manufacturers and warehouses, improvements in our freight infrastructure and investments in the technology that will power the jobs of the future. And we’re going to make sure we have a workforce trained to step into these jobs.
That’s why we will invest smartly and strategically in workforce development programs which simply means matching people to training, to jobs.
I know the demand is strong. At every one of the thousands of workplaces I’ve visited, the universal complaint is not having enough trained workers. Every single place, it’s the same.
That’s why we will reboot our Workforce Development Office, house it in Empire State Development so we can build stronger partnerships with employers and move funding through our Regional Economic Development Councils so we grow programs that train for jobs that are actually in demand in different parts of the State.
And the smart way to do it is to have school districts, community colleges, SUNY and CUNY all focused on the same objectives.
We are going to incentivize success, by tying a portion of workforce funding to high job placement rates. We’re also going to make it easier to qualify as an MWBE, so everyone can have access to opportunities. It’s a commonsense approach, backed by an uncommon level of funding. And it’s going to help supercharge our economy.
Our goal is for New York to be known nationally as the place that grows and attracts the talent – and the businesses will follow. And for businesses to succeed, they need a well-trained and educated workforce.
I believe to my very core that there is nothing more valuable than education and training when it comes to unlocking opportunity and prosperity. It changes lives, across generations.
I know what education did for my own family’s circumstances. My grandparents fled Ireland as teenagers because they had nothing – they were poor, with no hint of opportunity in their home country. My grandfather first became a migrant farm worker in the fields of South Dakota, then later he and Grandma were domestic workers and then, it all changed when he heard there were great jobs in a place called Buffalo, New York at the Bethlehem steel plant.
Grandma found a job at Bell Aerospace, making parts for our planes during World War II. That was their ticket to the life that they came in search of.
But what really transformed my family was the fact that my father was able to get a college degree – at night, while working by day at the same steel plant as his father.
If he hadn’t taken that leap, and invested in his own education, I would be living a very different life today. My whole family would be. That’s why I am so focused on expanding educational opportunities, starting by making the State’s tuition assistance program available to part-time students.
I believe that SUNY and CUNY are engines of social mobility and still have untapped potential that needs to be harnessed and unleashed.
So today, I am outlining a vision to make SUNY the BEST statewide public higher education system in the nation. How? Recruiting world-class faculty, creating flagship institutions at Stony Brook and the University at Buffalo, investing more in our premier research facilities at Binghamton and Albany, leaning into the strengths of our four-year comprehensive colleges, our technology colleges, and our community colleges, providing childcare on each campus, Increasing enrollment to 500,000 students by 2030, making SUNY a national leader on equity, increasing the number and diversity of people in every community with degrees and credentials that launch middle class careers and ensuring that SUNY campuses spur economic growth in their surrounding communities.
As we upgrade our Statewide higher education institutions, we also acknowledge that there are populations at-risk of falling through the cracks unless we target job training and education opportunities to them as well.
For example, we know that incarcerated people who participate in correctional education programs are far less likely to reoffend and 13 times more likely to obtain employment after returning home.
That outcome benefits the formerly incarcerated…employers in need of workers….the taxpayers of New York State – and it’s the right thing to do.
So today I’m announcing a new “Jails-to-Jobs,” initiative, so incarcerated people with have the support they need to find employment during re-entry. We’re also going to restore the Tuition Assistance Program for incarcerated people—ending a 30-year ban.
As we create economic opportunity in every sector, there’s one industry that will be working around the clock for years to come, my friends in the construction trades, building infrastructure the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Infrastructure can mean different things to different people. To me, it’s exciting because it’s all about creating connections. Connecting neighborhoods, connecting people to jobs and connecting people to their families.
Substandard infrastructure can mean long commutes, lost time from family, even missing a child’s bedtime. Time in a tire repair shop after hitting a pothole adds more stress than anyone needs. That’s why I view building and improving our infrastructure as a quality of life issue.
In November, I stood with my former colleagues in Congress on the White House lawn when President Biden signed the historic infrastructure bill, giving us a once-in-a-century chance to invest.
We cannot let this moment slip by, and we won’t.
New Yorkers demand the best and that’s exactly what they’re going to get. Just look at what my administration has already announced over the past four months.
We will finally transform Penn Station into world-class facility worthy of our City, ensure that the Gateway Project finally moves forward, deliver long overdue upgrades to both LaGuardia and JFK Airports, and finish the 2nd Avenue Subway to connect East Harlem to jobs.
But we’re just getting started.
Today, I’m announcing a bold idea—— take an old, unused, 14-mile-long right-of-way and create what we’re calling the Inter-Borough Express, new rail service that will connect Brooklyn and Queens.
I am directing the MTA to immediately commence an environmental review, so we can get this project rolling down the track and I’m also directing the Port Authority to get moving on the Cross-Harbor freight tunnel.
As I said, infrastructure is about connections. We need to reconnect neighborhoods that were severed by asphalt highways, disproportionately impacting communities of color.
We’re going to reverse the damage done more than half a century ago, with projects like the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, I-81 in Syracuse, the Inner Loop in Rochester, and the Cross-Bronx Expressway.
I’ve traveled to every one of our 62 counties in each of the past seven years, so I know nearly every road, highway, bridge.
I also have personal experience with just about every pothole in New York – especially on the Long Island Expressway. I’m coming after them, too.
And we are making the largest ever investment in New York’s digital infrastructure, putting $1 BILLION into connecting more New Yorkers with high-speed internet. This investment will boost innovation and economic growth—especially in our most remote communities.
There’s one more critical piece of our plan to rebuild our infrastructure — making it more resilient against climate change. Just days after being sworn into office, we were slammed with Hurricane Ida. I walked the flooded streets of East Elmhurst, Queens, and witnessed the aftermath of an epic collision between Mother Nature and our inferior infrastructure, with devastating consequences.
It was a cruel reminder that too much time has already been lost in the fight against climate change. These events are no longer rare – the next one is coming. Look no further than the Upstate counties constantly battered by “500 year” flooding or the tunnels in New York City and communities on Long Island still undergoing repairs more than a decade after Hurricane Sandy hit.
This is a threat to our way of life – here and now – and that’s why we must, and will, implement an ambitious agenda to meet this moment.
We’ve already started with increasing the Environmental Bond Act to $4 billion to go on the ballot this Fall so we have the resources we need.
I’m now announcing a nation-leading, $500 million investment in offshore wind energy that will create thousands of good-paying green jobs.
As we build out our wind-energy capacity, and continue our transition to clean energy, our reliance on fossil fuels must be phased out. In September, I announced two clean energy mega-projects to put us on a path to achieve the ambitious goal of cutting 80% of New York City’s power plant emissions by 2030. New construction in the State will be zero-emission by 2027, and we will build climate-friendly, electric homes and promote electric cars, trucks, and buses.
Protecting our environment is personal to me. I was born at a time, and in a place, where orange smoke billowed out of factory smokestacks literally blocking the skies, with a horrible stench I can still recall to this day while also dumping toxic waste into one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes.
I lived surrounded by the causes of climate change – and now I’m living with its effects.
Now, while we confront the climate crisis – we will address one of the most basic of human needs, that is to feel safe, on streets, in schools and in homes.
Time and again, New Yorkers tell me that they don’t feel safe, that they don’t like what they see on the streets and that things feel different right now – and not for the better.
It’s not just New York City – it’s cities across America. Many factors contribute to our streets feeling less safe, including the very real uptick in gun violence nationwide since the start of the pandemic.
Now, this isn’t a return to the dark days of the 70s, ’80s and ’90s. But that’s not our metric for success. We need to get back on track.
In October, I signed a bill that closed loopholes in gun possession and registration, making it easier for law enforcement to track down weapons used in crimes and prevent gun trafficking.
And we banned the sale of ghost guns. Going forward, we will double down on practical, proven law enforcement strategies to combat gun violence. Working with Mayor Adams and the Lieutenant Governor, who I’ve asked to take the lead for our Administration, we will form a new consortium between the New York State Police, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies, including neighboring states to trace guns used in crimes and stop the flow of guns into our State.
We will triple the resources for both our gun-tracing efforts as well as for successful community-based programs.
Fighting gun violence is critical, but we must address other factors contributing to tthe pervasive unease many are feeling on our streets.
That includes the humanitarian crisis unfolding before us: the rise in street homelessness. Our fellow New Yorkers who are in this situation deserve our compassion and they will receive it – along with our support.
We will create teams of mental health professionals and social workers, who will partner with New York City outreach workers, to reach homeless individuals and move them into shelters and housing.
At the same time, we know that street homelessness only accounts for a small fraction of the homeless population.
Beyond those sleeping on the streets, tens of thousands more people move in and out of shelters as they try to secure a place to call home and tragically many of them are children.
We need to focus on addressing the root causes of homelessness unmet mental health needs: poverty, addiction, and housing insecurity.
Every New Yorker deserves access to affordable housing, whether they are at risk of homelessness or simply struggle to pay the rent on time each month.
So many people not only face tremendous economic hardship, but the double hit is that housing prices have also continued to escalate beyond the reach of many, worsening the situation even more.
That is why I am launching a new, five-year housing plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 units with supportive services for high-risk populations, like runaway youth and formerly incarcerated individuals.
And we can no longer ignore the plight of NYCHA residents living in sometimes deplorable conditions. The Lieutenant Governor and I will work with the City of New York and the Legislature on concrete action this session. We’ll also fix outdated land use laws that hold back housing supply.
We’ll encourage transit-oriented development and the conversion of hotels and offices to housing is also part of our housing strategy.
Accomplishing everything I’ve proposed hinges on one thing a government people trust.
Across the country, trust in government is reaching all-time lows. We know why. Misinformation and lies on social media a widening partisan divide, gridlock in Washington even outright attacks on the right to vote.
It’s getting harder and harder for people to believe in their elected officials at all levels of government.
The question is: How do we restore their faith?
Here in New York, our answer is to demonstrate what good and honest governance looks like.
And we’ve already announced our first step.
We are submitting a proposal to the legislature to enact two term limits for Statewide officials.
For government to work, those of us in power cannot continue to cling to it.
We need to continually pass the baton to new leaders with different perspectives and fresh ideas.
Our reforms include a ban on outside income for Statewide officials because our only job should be to serve the people of New York.
But that’s not the only part of the system that’s not working.
It’s no secret that recent events have called into question the effectiveness of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, JCOPE.
I will introduce legislation to replace that commission with a new ethics enforcement watchdog.
One with real teeth. One that answers to New Yorkers – not to politicians.
None of these changes will fix our government overnight and having these safeguards in place won’t mean those of us in elected office won’t stumble or make honest mistakes.
But by putting much-needed reforms in place, we can at least begin to restore public trust by focusing on what REALLY matters to our residents.
What you’ve just heard is a mere sampling of the more than 220 proposals that fill a book we’re releasing today.
Quite an extraordinary accomplishment given our 134 days in office.
And I commend the hard-working staff who helped me shape this agenda— I’m proud to have the most diverse… talented team New York State has ever had.
Before we leave here and get to work.
I want to pause a moment to reflect on our State’s unique story and the destiny that lies before us.
Since its beginning, our country has attracted people from around the world, in search of an ideal that made leaving their homeland worth the risk.
Two simple words: American Dream.
And in pursuit of this, millions found their way here, to us.
New York has always meant the promise of a better life, for those immigrating through Ellis Island, fleeing slavery in the South, or resettling here as refugees from Afghanistan.
Our state is nationally recognized as the birthplace of movements for equality and progress, the labor movement, the women’s rights movement, the LGBTQ+ movement, the environmental movement, the racial justice movement, they all were started HERE by enlightened New Yorkers.
We attract the best, the brightest and the boldest. We embrace and celebrate racial, ethnic and gender diversity, culture and entertainment, where a single word like Broadway says it all.
Where the unsurpassed beauty of Niagara Falls, .the Adirondacks, Jones Beach, the Finger Lakes, Erie Canal and the Hudson River Valley…
And the grandeur of the New York City skyline aglow at night, it’s breathtaking
This is who we are and we are proud of it, keepers of the flames of movements past. Stewards of the natural treasures entrusted to us and the visionaries who will lead our State into the future…with courage and confidence.
While we may be imperfect, New Yorkers have always been the risk-takers, entrepreneurs, the innovators, the builders, the new, immigrants, the students, the true believers and the dreamers, who know that there truly is only one New York.
My fellow New Yorkers, members of the legislature, the time has come for a new American Dream.
A better, fairer, more inclusive version that I call The New York Dream.
For New York is not just a place, like other States … it is also an ideal.
One that embodies excitement, energy, and endless possibilities.
Just as we are inspired by the history bequeathed to us by the great New Yorkers who led our nation’s social justice movements and the leaders like FDR, who navigated us through a crisis with a calm, steady hand, so too will history look back at our time.
How we are judged will be determined by what we do right here, right now.
Let us seize this moment with great confidence and optimism.
And create a legacy of accomplishment that will endure through the ages, A New Era for New York.
And May God bless the people of the great State of New York and our Nation.