May 4, 2023
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Budget Investments to Support Workers and Make New York More Affordable

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Budget Investments to Support Workers and Make New York More Affordable

FY 2024 Budget Raises Minimum Wage to $16 in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and $15 Elsewhere in the State, Followed by $0.50 Annual Increases in 2025 and 2026, Ties Wages to Consumer Price Index

Adds $391 Million for New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program to Support Thousands More Tenants and Families, Including New York City Housing Authority Residents and Section 8 Voucher Recipients

Expands Empire State Child Credit to Children Under Four, Supporting Nearly 630,000 Additional Children

Includes $1.1 Billion in New Funding for the MTA and Off-Peak Subway Service Improvements to Reduce Stress for Working Class Commuters

Governor Hochul: "Life is hard here these days because the cost of living just keeps going up and up and up That's what brings me to the Capitol to work hard on a budget that I needed to deliver for all New Yorkers."

Hochul: "I thank you for the privilege of being your Governor, to be able to work with you on this and so many more initiatives. We head into the future with the sense we can do this. We have to take out and look up for those who have so little."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul highlighted FY 2024 Budget investments to support workers and make New York more affordable. The Budget includes investments and initiatives to address the affordability crisis by supporting working class commuters, expanding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, expanding the Empire State Child Credit to children under the age of four, and giving New Yorkers a pay increase by raising the minimum wage and tying it to the Consumer Price Index. Governor Hochul was joined by leaders of organized labor and local elected officials at today's announcement.

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

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page here

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

What an enthusiastic crowd we have here this morning. So, thank you. It is so great to be here. Not in Albany. Love Albany. Great city. But here we are with incredible accomplishments that I cannot wait to share with all of you because you are the people that were in our hearts and in our minds when we put together this budget to help lift up all New Yorkers, but particularly the working men and women of our state. Thank you. So, let me tell you who some of the extraordinary leaders we have with us here today. Starting with the President of the New York State AFL-CIO Mario Cilento has joined us.

Someone who is familiar to all of you, Rich Maroko, the President, Hotel and Gaming Trades Council. Rich, I think you're more popular than me. It's alright. We also have Gary LaBarbera, the President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. And great friend Henry Garrido, the Executive Director of DC37. Rebecca Damon, the Executive Vice President of SAG-AFTRA. John Ford from IATSE is here joining us as well. And you'll be hearing from a young woman, Chandra Singh, who's going to talk about what this is all about to her and her family. So, I want to give a shout out to Chandra Singh for joining us once again.

And we have wonderful elected officials here today. We are joined all the way from Washington D.C., Congressman Jerry Nadler. State Senator and Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, Jessica Ramos, has joined us. And Assembly Member and Chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, Latoya Joyner.

I don't know if Brad Hoylman has come. Brad is on his way. Brad has the shortest commute. What the heck Brad. This is your neighborhood. We'll, forgive him. Also, we are joined by members of my administration, the one and only Commissioner of Labor, Roberta Reardon, and Suzanne Miles-Gustave, our acting commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Families Services has joined us here today.

You know when I'm in rooms like this, it makes me so proud to be the Governor of one of the most labor friendly states. And the labor population here is higher than any other state in the nation, except for Hawaii. We'll let Hawaii have that one. That's all right. But we're number two, and we're going to try harder.

But when I'm in a room, when I think about all of you, it takes me back to my own family's story. How my grandparents, my father's parents grew up very, very poor in Ireland. They left as teenagers in search of a better life in America like so many others, so many of you, so many of your families.

And they found work. My grandpa was a migrant farm worker in the wheat fields of South Dakota. Then they got jobs as domestic servants in Chicago. And my grandparents, when they were young and married, they found their way to where they heard there were good jobs, making steel in a place called Buffalo, New York. And that's why I'm from Buffalo but I know — let's go, Bills. The Jets are looking good, the Giants. Okay, let's talk about that next fall. Okay?

But I know what being a member of a labor union and the dignity of that paycheck meant to my own family. It lifted them from poverty to the middle class. We benefited from fantastic public schools, and ultimately those poor grandparents became the grandparents of a woman Governor in the State of New York. That's the story I want to babble to all of us, that they can be lifted out of their circumstances with a good union card from all the great unions that I'm proud to represent here in the State of New York. So, my gratitude goes to the labor leaders who are out there rolling up their sleeves, fighting for you every single day because we are joined in the same mission to help our people.

It's that basic, and they were great allies during our budget process when they spoke about you and your needs and what you need to get by in these really tough circumstances. Life is hard here these days because the cost of living just keeps going up and up and up. I mean, my God, the cost of eggs, usually one of the cheapest things you could buy. I'm a mom. I was making a lot of things with eggs and milk and had to buy diapers and formula a long time ago. These are stresses on families when the prices go up and the most dreaded hour of the week is when they have to open up the bills that come in. How am I going to pay the rent? How am I going to pay my utilities? Maybe you're paying for your kids' school.

It's really hard out there, and everything's going up. It's no fault of anybody. It's called inflation. I remember when I was starting out, young, married life, everything was expensive too, but all of a sudden, things like just turned upside down. You thought you were getting ahead, but the bills keep getting higher and higher. And you know, who's hit the hardest? Members of our great communities, who are so diverse, our Black and Brown communities are hit hard, a lot of single moms trying to make ends meet. They're hit hard, working hard by the day and trying to figure out how to pay the bills with their kids at night.

So, these aren't just statistics. You talk about inflation going up. These are real people being hurt. And to me, that's what motivates me. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what brings me to the Capitol to work hard on a budget that I needed to deliver for all New Yorkers. And so, you're going to hear from Chandra Singh in a couple minutes, what it's like to be a working mom. She works at the Mandarin Hotel, works really hard. She has got a couple of daughters she raised, and she'll tell her story, but it is people like Chandra and countless others that are the story behind the numbers of a Budget and the policies in a Budget. That we delivered with our members of the legislature.

I'm so grateful to all of them for working with me, pulling together, saying, "It's not about us, it's about the people of this State." So, let's talk about some of that. Let's talk about that.

So, let's talk about young families. Families have it hard. I just saw my grandbaby. She's one year old and I saw the cost of diapers and I could not believe how expensive it is. I can't wait until she's potty trained. It's going to help the young family, my son's family, but I knew that children, families with kids under the age of five, they were not entitled to a tax credit that's available for families with five-year-old's and up.

And I'm thinking, wait a minute. The most expensive time is when they're outgrowing their clothes every six months, the baby food, the formula, the diapers, everything you have to buy, and those families were left behind. So, I said, "No more. No more." As a result of our legislation and result of our Budget, now families with kids from infants all the way on up to high school are going to be able to benefit from a tax credit that'll help give them extra money in their pockets to pay for the milk and pay for the eggs and pay for the electric bill. So, let's give that a round of applause.

Thank you. Thank you. Also, a lot of you take the MTA, right? All right. All right. All right. I've taken the MTA a lot. Sometimes I'm wearing a baseball hat, ponytailed, pair of jeans. You probably don't recognize me a lot, but I'm out there. I'm watching things. But we also want to make sure we can start finding a pathway to cut the cost of rides and keeping the fair increases as low as possible.

Keep more money in your pockets. But also, we are launching, and I thank the legislature for their perseverance and getting this over the finish line. We are starting to start a pilot program to see what even free buses could do for our people. So, you don't have to worry about that. So, we're launching one bus route per borough. Let's get started with five. We're going to study this, but you know what? This might just be the way to go. So, let's start the process now. Let's start the process.

The cost of housing. The cost of housing. I'm trying to help you, my friends, and we'll get something done. We have to build more housing overall, and we're going to come back at it again. But in the meantime, a lot of our families and friends in NYCHA housing. They weren't eligible for the pandemic money that was there to help people who got behind their rent.

You're told the place you're working is shut down because of the pandemic — you have no money coming in. And some people were eligible for federal and State money to help pay the back rent. So, you didn't get trapped in this cycle. But it wasn't available to our public housing residents and NYCHA, so the money wasn't coming into those buildings to help with repairs.

And making sure that we fix the elevators and the broken lights and all the other things that are going on. So, our budget also said, okay, it's not their fault. Let's lift them up.

And as a result, we're having almost $400 million set aside for Emergency Rental Assistance for these individuals so they can get their heads above water.

All these things we're doing, we're helping with utility rent relief, we're helping all kinds of services. You're going to find more, but, well — let me tell you one more thing I said — before we leave town, we'll find ways to get more money back in your pockets. But how about a pay increase for all New Yorkers starting with raising the minimum wage? Let's raise the minimum wage. That's how you lift people up. That's how you lift them up.

So, the Budget raises the minimum wage Downstate up to $17 an hour by 2026, Upstate $16 an hour. But one more thing I said, and I thank the legislature, I thank Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and I thank Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the Assembly because we worked hard together, and they represented the voices of the people in their conferences. We said, "We have to do this." We also said one more thing: If inflation keeps going up, all of a sudden, even a pay increase gets sucked away. Right? So going forward, after we get to this $17 an hour, we're going to index it to inflation. Inflation goes up, your paycheck goes up, and that's what we're going to do.

Thank you. I will close with one thought. I am blessed to be the Governor of the State. I'm also blessed to live in a home that was once occupied by Franklin Delano Roosevelt before he became the President of the United States. He was our governor. He was our governor. And he said something that stuck with me. "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance for those who have much. It's whether we provide enough for those who have too little. The ones who have too little, the ones who need our help, and that's what we're called to do. That's our responsibility." That is why I believe many of us are called to public service. Many of us are called to be union leaders. Many of us are called just to be out there on the front lines helping people. And that's what you do every single day. And I am grateful for the role you play and the role that unions play in lifting up our people, lifting up their circumstances, ultimately lifting up their spirits and letting them know that this is a place of opportunity, is a place of new beginnings, a place that we cherish and love, but we're going to make it even better. Make it greater than we've ever imagined before.

So, I thank you for the privilege of being your Governor, to be able to work with you on this and so many more initiatives. We head into the future with the sense we can do this. We have to take out and look up for those who have so little. Thank you, my friends.

With that, let me bring to the podium on the greatest labor leaders in the history of our state, Mario Cilento.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640