April 7, 2021
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Presents Highlights of FY 2022 Budget to Reimagine, Rebuild and Renew New York

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Presents Highlights of FY 2022 Budget to Reimagine, Rebuild and Renew New York

Governor Cuomo: "Our plan - we have three main goals — number one, manage COVID. Number two is COVID relief, make up for the damage that has been done over the past year. And third, seize this moment to actually reposition New York, reimagine New York, reconstruct New York, renew New York for the next 20, 30, 40 years."

Cuomo: "The future belongs to the economy and the region that adjusts to our new reality the fastest and I think this is an opportunity for New York to capitalize. COVID is not just going to go away. COVID had transformative impacts on society and I think it's important to realize that. If you just think that COVID is going to pass like a season and everything is going to go back to normal, then I think you failed to understand the impact of what we just went through."

Cuomo: "That's why this is a New York moment. That is our opportunity. That's who we are. ... We are survivors, we are entrepreneurs, and we will get up and we will re-envision, reimagine and rebuild, and this action plan invests in us to do just that."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented highlights of the FY 2022 Enacted Budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The full PowerPoint presentation is available here

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.  

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.  

PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning, everyone. It's a great day in the State of New York today, great day for progress, so congratulations to everyone. Let me introduce who we have here. First, the man of the hour, Budget Director Robert Mujica. He's happy today. I know it's hard to tell with the mask and all but he is happy and he should be. Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor; to my right Beth Garvey, Counsel; to her right Kelly Cummings, Director of Operations; to her right Dana Carotenuto, Deputy Secretary.

A lot of information to go through. This budget is certainly the most robust, most impactful, most important budget that we have done in this state, I believe, in modern history. It's the budget for fiscal year 2022, and it is the most important plan that this state has done. A budget really isn't a budget. It's not just about the numbers. It's an action plan for the future, and this one is a three-year COVID management, recovery and renewal plan.

This is a different time in history, my friends. We haven't been here before. We have challenges that we've never had before and we have opportunities that we never had before. We have COVID - that is still very much alive and well and it is still causing deaths and we cannot move past that. It has to be our main focus. We have to manage COVID and then we have to appreciate that COVID is not just a New York experience, not just a United States experience, it is a global crisis and in that crisis the recovery of COVID creates an opportunity. The future belongs to the economy and the region that adjusts to our new reality the fastest and I think this is an opportunity for New York to capitalize.

COVID is not just going to go away. COVID had transformative impacts on society and I think it's important to realize that. If you just think that COVID is going to pass like a season and everything is going to go back to normal, then I think you failed to understand the impact of what we just went through.

So our plan — we have three main goals — number one, manage COVID. Number two is COVID relief, make up for the damage that has been done over the past year, and third, seize this moment to actually reposition New York, reimagine New York, reconstruct New York, renew New York for the next 20, 30, 40 years.

The budget on the numbers — federal aid unrestricted was $12.6 billion. I had asked the federal government numerous times for $15 billion. The federal government, our delegation worked very hard but we didn't get to $15 billion. We got $12.6 unrestricted aid. New York State revenue has provided an additional $5 billion.

What this budget does is it has a PIT surcharge and a corporate franchise tax. There are no other taxes. Just those two taxes. In the first year the PIT surcharge raises $2.7 billion - $750 million from the corporate franchise - so it's $3.5 billion raised in the first year. In the second year those two taxes will raise $4.3 billion.

There will be no capital gains tax. There will be no estate tax. The feeling was that those taxes would od damage to the state and actually cost the state more money than we would raise. The PIT top rates start from $25 million-plus. It goes 8.82 to 10.9, 5 to 25, 8.8 to 10.3, 5 million, 8.8 to 9.65. The corporate franchise taxes, $5 million-plus, 7.2. That is only in effect for three years.

These tax changes anticipate the repeal of SALT. When SALT is repealed, taxes net in New York State will be lower. Taxes net in New York State will be lower. That's very important to remember. Taxes go up? No. SALT will reduce the tax impact by 37 percent. When SALT is repealed, the taxes will be going down. SALT has been a major topic for years. If I haven't said that word 'SALT' one million times I've never mentioned it. 

The federal Senate and the House of Representatives have promised to repeal SALT. When SALT was passed, it was passed during the Trump administration, it was a targeted assault on New York State and several other Democratic states. Every Senator from New York, every House Representative said promise, repealing SALT will be a top priority. I have personally appealed to President Joe Biden along with other Governors. SALT must be repealed. We fully expect it to be repealed. 

I do not believe the federal government can pass another tax plan without repealing SALT. I don't believe that they can come home to New York. When that happens, there will be a net reduction in taxes. When you talk about this tax package, you cannot talk about it without anticipating a SALT repeal. SALT is essential to give our taxpayers fairness and relief. SALT cost us $13 billion more per year since it was instituted by the Trump administration. It was a political assault on this State. It must be repealed. When it is repealed you'll see actually a net tax reduction in New York. 

The three main goals, COVID management. COVID is still a threat. I was on the telephone with the White House yesterday. Dr. Fauci, Vice President Harris, the White House COVID Task Force. Again, they all say basically the same thing that we know. This is a race between the increase in COVID infection and how quickly we increase vaccinations. That's what this is about. There is a threat of COVID variants, there is a threat that a variant could develop that could be vaccine resistant. Getting the vaccinations is the top priority but it is still very much here with us. 

I understand COVID fatigue and I understand we've been doing this for a long time and people just want to move on, but that denies reality. 59 New Yorkers died yesterday from COVID. 400 New Yorkers died over the last week from COVID. We're not past COVID. A denial of a problem is a sure way to be overcome by the problem. COVID management is our first priority. Vaccinating New Yorkers is my first priority. We've done it many different ways with many different campaigns, but we have to get it done. 

Increasing our testing, increasing our vaccination efforts, making sure vaccines are available, free, equitably. Today, every New Yorker is eligible for a vaccine. It becomes getting the supply from Washington, having the distribution network and then convincing New Yorkers of the need to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated. We're operating vaccination centers all across the State. You have the mass vaccination sites which are the most effective in terms of through-put and volume. If you ask me what is the fastest way to vaccinate, it's our mass vaccination sites. I was at Javits Center yesterday, it's one the best vaccination sites in the United State of America and it's a beautiful demonstration of the state's work. And the mass vaccination sites are very fast, but we also want to make sure this is done equitably. So we also set up smaller sites in nursing homes, in public housing, in communities of color, in houses of worship to make sure we are equitably distributing the vaccine. And again, we're reaching the point where the tall straw is going to be getting New Yorkers to step up and make the appointment and understand that everybody has to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.  

We're going to launch a public education campaign. We opened one two days ago - the 'Roll Up Your Sleeve' Campaign. Yesterday we started the 'Get Vaccinated' Campaign explaining to people that it's not just about you, it's about the people who you can affect. This is safe - over 10 million New Yorkers have taken the vaccine - it's safe. It's your citizen duty to take the vaccine. We also want to learn from what we went through and we're going to have certain reforms post-COVID and they're in this plan. Increasing access to telehealth for all New Yorkers - this was an eye opener. Telemedicine works, telehealth works. You don't have to show up in the doctor's office for everything, it can be very efficient and effective if you have broadband service, if your health care provider uses it. But we want to make massive strives in telehealth. 

We are also setting up a new type of public health corps. What this really requires in a pandemic is an emergency management response for public health. It's not what agencies normally do. The Department of Health is not an emergency response agency, it's a regulatory agency. So, we're going to hire 1,000 public health corps fellows who will be trained to do just this - rapid response, get in a car, get in a van, drive to locations, knock on doors. That doesn't exist for our Department of Health today, it doesn't really exist for any Department of Health across the country - I've spoken to many Governors about it. We have emergency management, but it has always been more geared toward natural disasters - hurricanes, floods, et cetera, snow storms - we've done that quite well. We need an emergency response capacity for a public health crisis and will develop that. 

We also have to educate our citizens. We had a big problem here with the anxiety, the unknown — what is COVID? I can't see it, I can't feel it. What are the real facts? And that anxiety creates a problem in and of itself. We've developed a course with Cornell University — thank you very much Cornell. It's free, it's online, it's a 16-hour course. People can take it. It's informative, it's smart, it's Cornell professors. And educate yourself so you know - not just what COVID is about - but what the next one will be about and when the next one happens be in a position to protect yourself, protect your family, protect your children, protect your community and be in a position where if you want to be a volunteer for the community response, you can be. So that is also funded in this plan. 

Eliminating health care premiums — we eliminate health care premiums for more than 400,000 New Yorkers because COVID showed up we need health care as a human right. Mental health and addiction — we are launching 24-hour urgent care centers. This is an unforeseen but very real byproduct of COVID, has been the mental health, the stress, the isolation, the addiction problems, the domestic violence problems. And we have to recognize it for what it is and we have to address it. 

COVID relief — people were devastated by COVID and what happened with the economy and before you can move forward, you have to stabilize society. And that's COVID relief - $2.4 billion emergency rental assistance program. People have to be able to pay their rent, people have to be able to have a stable home. I was at one time the housing secretary for this nation. It starts with a home. It starts with that stability, where you are comfortable. Your base, your family's base. We've had eviction moratoriums, but now we want to repair the economics. Rent has to be paid, but tenants need the assistance to pay their rent. Landlords have to pay their taxes and their heat bill, et cetera. So $2.4 billion for that.

We also want to make sure that there's enough fair and safe housing, and we're investing in capital construction and public housing and transitional rent supplement program, and $120 million for homeless housing. We've had a significant increase in homelessness during this COVID crisis, and we want to address that. We will also turn lemons into lemonade. We expect to see vacancy in commercial property and hotel properties. The workplace has changed. Okay, let's be creative and fast and smart about reusing vacant commercial space and turning it into permanent affordable housing, which is what we need anyway, more affordable housing. So, if you're going to have vacant commercial, how do we quickly turn it into permanent affordable housing?

Reopening small businesses, which took it right on the chin. And the arts, which are so vital to New York. It's vital to tourism, it's vital to tourism, it's vital to our spirit, it's vital to who we are. We are the arts capital of the world, in my opinion. $1 billion to help small businesses who didn't have the resources to fall back on. Bringing back the arts and cultural organizations with recovery grants. Restaurants, which were cooperative all through this. The owners of restaurants did extraordinary things to keep their employees working. We want to make sure now that they have the financial resources to return, as well as musical and theatrical productions across the state.

Helping the middle class, we have a tax cut for the middle class in this proposal. It reduces the personal income tax, saving 4.8 million New Yorkers over $2.2 billion this year, so it's a significant middle class tax cut, because they were also economically devastated by COVID. Also increasing a childcare credit, $2.3 billion in federal resources to provide high-quality childcare so we can get back to work.

We're also going to repay our state workers. I want to say a special thank you to the state workers. We delayed payment to the state workers because of the fiscal crisis we were in. We're going to repay that $600 million to the state workers, many represented by CSEA and PAF. But I also want to say to the state workers, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We asked you to do really important, important work. We asked you to leave your home every day, and expose yourself to danger, so other people could stay home and be safe. That safe home order, when I said everybody stay home, stay safe at home, yes, but that required all sorts of other people to go to work so you could stay home. We still had to operate the trains and the busses and the schools. Phones had to work, lights had to work, construction had to go on. Those state workers showed up so people could stay home, and to me, they are truly heroes of this COVID crisis. So we say thank you.

Support for excluded and unemployed workers, just because you are undocumented doesn't mean we don't care and we don't have compassion, and we don't want to help. It is difficult to do it in a way that can be administered without fraud, and that's obviously a major concern for us that we protect every tax dollar. We ran an unemployment insurance program for citizens of the state, there was tremendous fraud even through we took significant measures. On this program, we'll ask the comptroller to review it before it is administered. The comptroller's job is to audit state funds. After a program is run, the comptroller will come back and do an audit and said, you did this wrong, this wrong, this wrong, this wrong. In this case, we're asking the comptroller to look at the program first to make sure the way it is designed, there are fraud protections. And we're asking the Attorney General to specifically review the program, the guidelines, the rules, to make sure there are anti-fraud protections. And if there is any fraud, or anyone intends to commit a fraud, that the program is designed in a way that will prevent that. We want 100 percent integrity for tax dollars. Until the Attorney General reviews and signs off on the program, we will not implement the program, because we want New Yorkers to know, yes, we're compassionate and we're doing the right thing, but we're also doing it smartly and intelligently, and the Attorney General's approval of the program will do just that.

Many people went hungry. $50 million for the Nourish New York, helping hungry New Yorkers and local farmers. It's common sense. We have farmers in the state who are struggling, buy product from farmers in the state, help them economically and feed our people. And third, and probably long-term the most important, is investing in New York's future. We have to recover here on many levels. Economically, psychically, socially, we have to recover. But we also have to recover as a state, and that doesn't just happen. We are going to have to make it happen. So the New York recovery, relief, reimagination of New York, the reconstruction of New York, the renewal of New York, how do you rebuild New York and how do you do it better, and how do you do it smarter than before?

When I was in the federal government, I used to do disaster relief, and I remember standing in front of a home that was flood-damaged. And floods, sounds like water comes in the water goes out. That's not what a flood is about. A flood is nasty. It brings mud, it brings all sorts of debris, it damages everything it touches. And a family was picking through their belongings. It was a very sad sight. And the father of the family called them over, and had them stand looking at this destroyed home. And many were distraught, and they were crying, and the father said, think about what the new house is going to look like - now we can get rid of that old refrigerator, now we can build a new family room, we can redo the basement. You're not going to replace what was - life is not about going backward, life is about going forward. And yes, this has been a significant period of loss and damage, fine. How do you rebuild better? There are things that we needed to do better anyway. So seize this moment to make it happen and seize the opportunity to lead in this post-COVID world.

We're going to have, and just are approving when the Assembly finishes voting, the largest building program in modern history in the State of New York. It will be large because we need large-scale development. It will be fast because we have to do it quickly. And it will be transformative, it will take this State from yesterday to tomorrow and use this as a point of renewal.

We're going to be the green energy capital of the nation, period. The largest offshore wind program in the nation, making a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse right here in New York with buy American provisions. A new superhighway to get that green energy from Upstate, from Long Island, from the ocean to the markets that need it. Retrofit buses and move towards electric because that is the future. And teach people these new job skills because they are the jobs of the future, the green jobs. Establish prevailing wage for projects, getting renewable energy credits. Everybody says the future is the green economy, every politician gets up and gives that speech, everybody passes a piece of legislation saying, "We should have goals to be a green economy." Yeah, goals mean nothing unless you are actually implementing them with a plan to get there, and this State is doing just that. Over 100 projects - wind projects, solar projects, hydro projects and an entire new transmission grid that gets those renewable energy sources to the parts of the state that need it. The single most ambitious green economy plan in the country.

More economic development because it is about jobs - $220 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund. Downtown reinvestment - you have all those beautiful downtown areas, reinvest in downtown, put Main Street back together to make it viable. Use MWBEs. A new round of REDC awards and fund and boost tourism, which is one of our major economic engines in this State.

And this issue, police reform, is normally not something people think about when they think about economic development. But, you want to know one of the first questions a family asks before they move into the area, or a business asks before they move into the area? "Is it safe?" You know what one of the top priorities for government is still? Public safety. We've gone through a national crisis with George Floyd's murder. It was a national crisis. It was also a point for reform. When a social issue is raised up and people demonstrate and they voice concern and opposition, that moment must be seized. They are voicing a problem, don't deny it, don't ignore it, grab it and resolve it and move forward. George Floyd's killing was one in a long series of cases of police abuse — we've gone through this in New York for decades. Eric Garner on Staten Island — there's 20 examples in this state. But George Floyd, the people of this nation said enough is enough and they were right, they were right. They were saying we have lost trust in the police and the relationship has deteriorated. And by the way, the police were saying the relationship has deteriorated. And it doesn't work if the police relationship with the community doesn't work. And that's what the George Floyd protests were all about.

Now, most governments turned a blind eye and I had hundreds of conversation with local officials and I said, "This is a moment for reform. Put the police at the table, put the community at the table, talk it through." That's the only way to resolve the tension in a relationship — talk it through, tell me your grievance, tell me your problem and then let's find out how to compromise and how to get to a relationship that is functional rather than dysfunctional. But, politicians don't like to get involved in controversial issues. Why? Because they're controversial and you can't make everybody happy. And a lot of the politicians take the posture well if I can't make everybody happy I'm staying away from that issue. "Oh, some people oppose it? Well then I don't want to take a position." Ignoring a problem solves nothing. That is a life motto I tell my kids every day, it's also true for government. We said, with a nation that was paralyzed on this issue, we said in New York every local government that has a police department has to go through a collaborative process, come up with a public safety reform plan, have the police at the table and the community at the table, come up with a safety reform plan, pass it by your City Council so it's not just another speech or political polemic. Pass it by the City Council or when we do the budget a monitor will be put in place and you will lose up to 50 percent of your funds. We have 497 jurisdictions that have police departments just in our state, think about that, 497. 450 of the 497 have submitted passed plans to reform and reinvent their public safety department. That is a phenomenal, phenomenal accomplishment. If they do not, we say we'll have the Attorney General, by mandate, install a monitor for the noncompliant jurisdictions. And of the 497 jurisdictions, there are about 40 that are still outstanding and they are on notice — if they don't have the plan in, we're going to install a monitor, but the compliance has been unbelievable. It would not have happened, but for saying this, and I know the local governments all complained and said 'this is hard and we don't want to do it and the state is forcing us to do it.' Yes, the state forced you to do it. You didn't have to do it. You could have a monitor and lose funds if you really don't want to do it. But it had to be done, it had to be done. I'm not saying these plans are the be all and end all, but they are at least starting off points. You have cities now that have mayoral elections coming up. This is the single most important issue for many cities and I hope in those upcoming mayoral elections, the debate is 'well, this is the plan the city just passed, what do you think about it? Does it go far enough? Does it go too far?' But this is a major, major accomplishment. People have to feel safe. People won't move back to New York City or to Buffalo, or to Rochester, or to Albany unless they feel safe and this is a major step forward.

We legalized recreational cannabis. I tried for three years, but we got it done this year. Third time's a charm. It's a smart plan. I think it's the best plan in the country. It's also going to raise $350 million. I want to thank the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Crystal Peoples-Stokes who worked extraordinarily hard to make this happen and went above and beyond. Thank you to all the legislators. This is a big, big progressive score for New York.

Mobile sports betting will pass. It will generate $500 million annually for youth sports education. The law allows the state to directly operate mobile sports betting. So the $500 million will go to the state, rather than a lot of middle men who operate mobile sports betting, which is what many other states have done. This is like the state lottery where we operate it and we get the resources. The law does not authorize any new casinos. I am opposed to any casino authorization plan that is subject to politics. We have a Gaming Commission that makes the decision on the merits. There's a lot of money involved in casinos. There's a lot of lobbyists, there's a lot of political contributions and I want to make sure that any decision that is made is made purely on the merits and I'll have nothing to do with a casino plan that can be politicized.

On education, we've made record investments, funding the lower-funded schools to bring them up to offer the best education that we can. Remember in this state, you have some schools that fund $33,000 per student, and we have some that fund $13,000 per student. I have said all along, if a school is funding $33,000, I would not give them a penny of state money. I would take those at the bottom and raise them up. We're not quite there, but this goes a long way towards fiscal equity. Also, higher education. Also full-day Pre-K. Also, $247 for opportunity programs. Also, $88 million to increase TAP for 185,000 new college students.

Increasing accessible and affordable broadband for families that are lower income -- $15 a month internet plan, period. Everyone has to have access. Not only access, but access to affordable broadband. We basically have access, the question then became the affordability. You can get it, you just can't pay for it. We're not mandating that these internet companies provide $15 a month internet plans to low income customers. Mandating. And to these internet companies, I say again, you don't operate in the State of New York by an act of God. You operate in the State of New York by the will of the people. If you do not do this, you will lose your franchise in the State of New York and that's a promise. We will also have a fund that helps lower-income students connect with free internet access. We learned a terrible lesson with remote learning. Remote learning works if the student has the right devices, if the student has internet access, if the student's family can afford internet service. So, this is a major reform for social equity.

Major funding and job training through SUNY, through SUNY's offshore wind training institute. Priority access for nurses in SUNY and CUNY programs and a pathways pledge to create a more inclusive workforce.

We addressed systemic injustices — hate crimes, our Liberty Defense Fund, Raise the Age Implementation. It also strengthens hiring standards for police officers by enforcing restrictions on hiring decertified officers. What this does, is it stops the revolving door. A police officer gets into trouble for bad conduct in one police department, leaves that police department and goes to work in another police department, in another part of the state. You saw 497 police departments. If a police officer violated their oath in one department, we don't want to hire them in a different department. And this is going to stop that revolving door for bad police officers. 

More funding to make voting better, easier and increase early voting. 

I had proposed the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act - something I'm very excited about - a $3 billion, the largest bond act ever for restoring the environment. Due to the problems in the economy, I asked to postpone it. We're now going to put it back on the ballot for next year. This year is also an economically difficult year, so we'll put it on the ballot for next year. 

We're also going to learn from what happened in nursing homes. We have nursing home reform legislation to make sure that facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits. There are two types of nursing homes: not-for-profit and for-profit. For-profit nursing homes pose a tension - I analogize them to for-profit prisons. How do you make profit in a nursing home? You reduce your cost. How do you reduce your cost? You reduce the services to patients, reduce the food budget, reduce the staffing budget, don't invest as much in the facility. That is a destructive tension. So what we're saying to the for-profit nursing homes, we want the money that gets paid to you either from the state or from the family, we want that money going to patient care and patient services. So we're capping the profit that they can make at a for-profit nursing home at 5 percent. Everything else has to go into the nursing home and the care of the patient. 

And we're going to have the largest infrastructure — bad word, infrastructure is building, building a transportation network, building an economic platform — $311 billion. In many of our Upstate cities we made the mistake, same mistake in the 50s, we cut the city off from the waterfront because the waterfront was manufacturing, it was the back door of the city. The waterfront is now the front door of the city, we have to reconnect. In Buffalo we're going to do it with the Skyway Bridge project. In Rochester, more than half the Roc the Riverway will be finished in 2021. In Albany, the Skyway Ramp is going to be turned into a linear park. Department of Transportation is doing the project. They are going to design it, they are going to construct it, they have new plans that we will reveal next week. And we have an ambitious goal - but we always have an ambitious goal — Kelly Cummings promises me that it will be done this year, she didn't actually promise me but I just wanted to increase the pressure on her a little bit. In Syracuse we're moving forward with the I-81 Viaduct project. In Dunkirk, Athenex will invest $1.5 billion in a pharmaceutical production facility, and that's very exciting and that's a whole new industry. Binghamton University, we funded the health sciences campus, it's going to be finished this year. $13 million will go to the Roswell Park Cancer Center, growing one of the premiere research and treatment institutes. This is going to fund a program that is basically going to do two things: it's going to be a worker training and recruitment program and also assisting us on our vaccination program and on our citizen empowerment program, teaching citizens about pandemics and pandemic management. Construction is funding to continue on the Mohawk Valley Health System — 377-bed hospital in Utica. We're continuing the new SkyDome Testing Facility at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, which we believe very strongly is an industry of tomorrow and we're investing in it today. The new White Face Mid-Station Lodge is opened, we're adding additional features for next ski season. This is very important to us, not just for the North Country, but for tourism overall. Same thing, $72 million in Mount Von Hoevenberg to the Olympic Sport Complex, that's going to be complete, that's a major tourism attraction. Monroe County - the I-390/490 Interchange, long overdue, it's going to be done this year. LegoLand in Goshen is going to be a major tourism attraction, it is bery cool, that's going to be completed this year. The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge that had to be redecked, we moved the schedule up nine months to minimize the traffic delay on that bridge. And we are going to rebuild all 27 Thruway Service Areas. It's time. They were redone at one period, but it's time to redo them again. This helps motorists, New Yorkers, but it's also a very big deal for tourism and these service areas can be more than service areas. They can be tourism destination sites and that's what we want to do. We don't want to just have them as gasoline and fast food. How do we maximize that potential as a full service and tourism center?

In the South Bronx an issue they've been talking about literally for 30 years is reducing the asthma rate and the health problems in the Bronx from all the truck traffic going to Hunts Point. We're going to have direct truck access to Hunts Point and get that truck traffic off the local streets that has caused so much damage.

I'm from Queens. The Kew Gardens interchange has been a nightmare for decades. I remember the traffic, I remember my father saying why don't they do something about this? Well, they is us, and we're going to have it completed in 2022.

New Belmont Arena in Long Island will be open. It is going to be exciting, it is going to be beautiful, it's going to be a home for the Islanders.

The new Third Track funded, completed this year, that's going to revolutionize the commute from Long Island and it's going to be very necessary.

Commuting in this new remote world can't be running the gauntlet. Commuting has to be pleasurable, fast and predictable, and getting on the train from Long Island and coming into a nice station and having a pleasant experience is essential.

JFK, $13 billion transformation. LaGuardia will be finished next year. This state will have the best airports in the nation in my opinion and the newest, and if you want to do tourism and if you want to welcome visitors and if you want to welcome business people, the airport is your front door, and that experience starts their impression of your city and of your state, and with our airports, they'll have a great one.

We're also moving forward with a LaGuardia AirTrain which will cut down travel time. More investment in the MTA, $51 billion capital program.

We are working with the federal government on the Second Avenue Subway. The Trump Administration got us right up to the point of yes, and then I think frankly they just didn't want to say yes, but we've done everything to get it approved. We completed the first phase up to 96th Street and revolutionized the East Side of Manhattan with the Second Avenue Subway and opened up that whole market. We're now ready to go to 125th Street in Harlem which will be an opening up of development of a peace of Manhattan that has been sorely left behind for many, many decades, so we're ready to go with that and we have funding for that.

The Midtown West development will be the largest development in Manhattan in decades. You have to remember even in Manhattan, people think about it as a private sector driven development pattern. It is true for the most part, but the State of New York, Battery Park City, that was the State of New York. Roosevelt Island, that was the State of New York, and in this economy we want a jumpstart for Manhattan and we want a jumpstart for Manhattan that helps the entire downstate region, and that is the state of the art, largest investment in mass transit. People can't drive into Manhattan. That's not going to be our future. It is going to be mass transit, and we build a new Empire Station Complex with more rail lines, more residential and commercial development. It connects to a new Javits Center. It connects to a new Pier 76. It is an entire comprehensive West Side redevelopment that we think will make a major difference in New York City which sorely needs it. $16 billion for a new Penn Station, eight new rail lines. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, which has been a major negative for New York City, basically all of my life. And Rick Cotton has division and the capacity, the executive director of the Port Authority, to get this done. 

Javits Center, which at one time when it opened in the mid-80s, was the state-of-the-art. Other convention centers have gotten bigger and Javits has been less competitive. 50 percent expansion on Javits, which abuts our west side redevelopment. It will become an international venue, and I was there yesterday, it's happening, it'll be done on time. Extending the High Line to this new area, which is a great tourism and resident treat, and after 23 years, New York City is finally vacated Pier 76. This has been a long-time example of government incompetence. Pier 76, a beautiful pier, juts out into the Hudson River, and was used as a tow pound. It has to be redeveloped, it's part of Hudson River Park, and magnificent, some of the most valuable and beautiful real estate in this country. It is now, I saw it yesterday, being taken down. The tow pound is moved, and it will be an outdoor open area, and then long-term, the Hudson River Park will have to redesign a full development plan. But we want it open for this summer so people have a place to go, space, social distancing, and Kelly promises that that will be done by June 1, also. She makes a lot of promises. 

Last point is look, this is a moment in time that we are in. And it's a moment of international reset. I say to people, I say to my kids, I said it again last night, in life, things will happen, and unfortunate things will happen, and bad things will happen. Doesn't even have to be a function of anything you do. Life will knock you on your rear end. You will lose a job. You'll get disappointed in a personal relationship. You'll have a health crisis. Your spouse will have a health crisis. God forbid your child has a health crisis. Something will happen. Something will happen. It's the law of probability. And you'll get knocked on your rear end. Now, when you get knocked on your rear end and you get knocked on the canvas, you see the world from a different perspective. You're flat on your back, you're looking up, and you see the sky. And you see the world differently. And the question in life, what separates winners from losers, successful people from unsuccessful people, what do you do when you get knocked flat on your back? That is the moment that decides who you are, here, and here. COVID knocked the world on its back. The world. Not just New York, not just the United States, the world. Europe is dealing with it. Everyone is dealing with it. It is an international reset. 

Yes, COVID posed major challenges. And yes, you're not going back to the way it was. There is no going back. The question is who deals with this new reality, and stands up, and confronts it, with energy and imagination and creativity? Yes, we have COVID. And yes, we still have to deal with COVID. And yes, COVID is just an eye-opener on our need for public health, and we should have learned from Ebola, and from dengue, and from the past 20 years of pandemics, but we didn't. And now we have COVID. And there'll be another one after COVID. And that is a new reality that you have to deal with. Working remotely is not going away. People have done it for a year, some people like it, some people want to find a hybrid, but that's not going away. "Well, go back to the way it was. Get in the car, drive to work, pay for parking, come home, spend another hour in the car." Some people are going to say, "no, I'm going to work remotely." It is going to change the way people live and work. That is going to happen. Deal with it and recognize it. We have social unrest that we haven't had since the 60s. This police community tension is real; it is palpable. The racial tensions we have, the religious tensions we have, the anti-Semitism we've been seeing, the anti-Asian behavior that we're seeing today in this country, the melting pot, E Pluribus Unum; it is real and it has to be dealt with.  

Increased crime — you look at our city, the crime rate is going up and it's frightening and people are scared. They are frightened. You have crime, and random crime, and death, and shootings in a way you haven't had in decades. Homelessness is out of control, and it gives a sense of not only sadness that we have our fellow human beings living on the street, but it increases the sense of chaos and out of control, and we're incompetent as a government. There's an overall sense of urban insecurity. The density that makes an urban area I now find threatening, and people fled from the urban areas, and they went out to their summer homes, they went out to other parts of this country. Why? Because the density that I once loved, that energy, that concentration now makes me feel insecure. This is not going away.  

So, the question is what country deals with it first and best? What region deals with it first and best? What state deals with it first and best? What city deals with it first and best? You answer that question and I'll tell you the place that emerges for a new, and better, and brighter future. I'll tell you who gets up off the mat stronger, and better, and smarter for the experience. That's why this is a New York moment. That is our opportunity. That's who we are. We are people who get up off the mat. We are born for people who get up off the mat. We're born from people who left countries where they had no opportunity, where they had no growth, and they took a tremendous risk coming to this place. Some by their own will, some in chains, but that is who we are. We are survivors, we are entrepreneurs, and we will get up and we will re-envision, reimagine and rebuild, and this action plan invests in us to do just that.  

We are going to be better than we've ever been before. It's in here. We've done it before. We went through the Great Depression and we got the better and stronger for it. We came back after World War 2. We had the 60s and the 70s and the urban decline, and the fiscal crisis, and the fear, the pandemonium of urban areas. We went through 9/11, which was devastating, devastating. 2,900 Americans lost. We just lost 40,000 New Yorkers to COVID. But we came back after 9/11. We came back after Super Storm Sandy and we're going to come back after this.  

I want to thank the legislature for getting this budget done in what was a surreal situation. Speaker Carl Heastie, who has a very large conference that he had to manage. They're not in the capitol. 570 Zoom calls to talk to his conference. Speaker Carl Heastie did all of this while he had COVID. You want to talk about an extraordinary effort, with COVID at a time when the legislature is all remote. So, congratulations to the Speaker on a really heroic effort. LouAnn Ciccone and Blake Washington who handled this with the Speaker, I've worked with them many years and so has my team, they are pros and they proved it once again. Thank you to Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Shontell Smith, who is just a super star and she shined once again. David Friedfel who is the new finance person for the Senate, and this was his first experience. I'm sure he learned a lot, but he was very helpful. And I want to thank my team: Melissa DeRosa, Secretary, Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey, Dana Carotenuto, and Kelly Cummings. 

It's a timely budget and under extraordinary circumstances, and it's the most important budget, the most important plan that we've done. Congratulations to New Yorkers. We've made it through the COVID winter. I just celebrated Easter, Catholics celebrated Easter. Spring is here, it's renewal. Let's seize the COVID Spring. It's up to us to seize the COVID Spring and we will, because we are New York tough, but we're also smart, we're also united, we're also disciplined, we're also loving. That's who we are and that's why we will overcome.  

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