February 1, 2023
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Highlights of FY 2024 Executive Budget

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Highlights of FY 2024 Executive Budget

Governor Hochul: "Today we're here to talk about how we can help - help more New Yorkers realize their dreams. So our agenda focuses on affordability, livability, safety, and includes groundbreaking proposals dealing with housing, mental health, child care, public safety, and even a minimum wage increase during these difficult times. All this just to make it a little bit easier to be a family living here in New York."

Hochul: "[T]he question right now, before all of us, is how do we move New York forward, even in an uncertain environment, and get through these challenges? Once again, we're submitting a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2024. It's a thoughtful plan that furthers our progressive values and our priorities as New Yorkers, but also ensures fiscal responsibility."

Hochul: "Our $227 billion budget will include unprecedented investments in areas that will make a positive impact in people's lives, that'll make the New York dream real, and as I said, make it safer, more affordable, more livable."

Hochul: "People are starting to feel good again about this state, and I'm proud of that. And we're going to continue opening doors of opportunity to people who have been historically blocked from equal access and success. We're going to continue to protect and enshrine the basic rights that we cherish here in New York as other states slide backwards. And we'll continue to be nation-leading in every way when it comes to combating climate change, meeting the housing demand, mental health - whatever it is, this is New York. We will be nation-leading, and the nation expects that."

Earlier today, Governor Hochul outlined her Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget. The FY 2024 Executive Budget reflects Governor Hochul's bold agenda to make New York more affordable, more livable, and safer by making smart, responsible investments in mental health care, public safety, housing, education, climate initiatives, and more. 

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.

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

Well, the day has arrived. The much-anticipated day of announcing our budget for the people of the State of New York. I could not be prouder. So thank you to everyone for joining us today.

I first of all want to acknowledge my extraordinary team. There's none better, starting with my Lieutenant Governor, Antonio Delgado. Thank you for being here and all the work you do. Secretary to the Governor. One of the toughest jobs in America. Karen Persichilli Keogh, thank you for all you do — your wisdom, your guidance. Our Acting Budget Director, Sandra Beattie. Thank you for stepping up and using your experience, working in that office for many years, to get us to where we are today. So thank you, Sandra.

Counsel to the Governor, Liz Fine, thank you. Chief of Staff, Stacy Lynch has joined us. And also we want to acknowledge Micah Lasher, who has done an amazing job with our policy side, and our communications team, led by Julie Wood and a lot of people who work so hard to make this day happen.

I'd also like to thank our guests, our Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, our Speaker Carl Heastie, our Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, thank you, and our Majority Leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes from Buffalo. Great to see you again. Minority Leader Robert Ortt has joined us as well as representatives from the minority in the Assembly as well.

So three weeks ago today, I laid out a bold vision to make New York safer, more affordable and more livable. I spoke of our accomplishments, the challenges we've met and overcome, and those that still remain for us to solve together. I describe my desire to have the New York dream attainable for all who call this great state their home, but right now remains out of reach for far too many.

I said, we set the table for what should be one of the most prosperous times in our state's history. But if New Yorkers don't feel safe, they can't afford to buy a home, they can't pay their rent, the cost of everything keeps rising, then nothing we've done will make a difference.

So today we're here to talk about how we can help - help more New Yorkers realize their dreams. So our agenda focuses on affordability, livability, safety, and includes groundbreaking proposals dealing with housing, mental health, child care, public safety, and even a minimum wage increase during these difficult times. All this just to make it a little bit easier to be a family living here in New York.

And I recall that one year ago, I presented my budget to an empty room. We were in the throes of the Omicron surge, the chaos that it created. And at the time, I reaffirmed my belief that as Governor, my top priorities were to protect the safety, the health of New Yorkers, our people, but also to protect the health of our economy. And despite all the hardship and heartbreak we had faced during COVID, and all the rebuilding that had to be done that we worked together, the economic outlook at the time one year ago was actually very positive.

We had unprecedented revenues coming to our state from Washington. We had Wall Street doing very well. We had tax receipts. The Comptroller knows this. We were in a very different place one year ago. So working with the Legislature, we used those funds to help our people and help our businesses recover from the pandemic, investing in transformative priorities such as education, health care, child care — we did all that. And also, we said we had to protect the future health of our state's economy, the 10th largest economy in the world.

And I knew at the time we could not count on the sun shining forever. When I took office, our reserves were a mere 4 percent, a dangerously low level for a state our size. That's why I reversed the course that our state was on and put aside a significant amount of money for a rainy day with a plan with the Legislature to increase our reserves to at least 15 percent. By the end of Fiscal Year 2023, our reserves will total nearly $24 billion because of that discipline.

And it's a good thing we did. It's a very good thing we did because one year later, the umbrellas are out. A majority of economists are predicting a recession. But the good news is we're prepared. It's also one of the reasons we will not be raising income taxes after we just expedited middle class tax cuts a year ago, because it's not a news flash that New Yorkers already believe they pay too much.

But the question right now, before all of us, is how do we move New York forward, even in an uncertain environment, and get through these challenges? Once again, we're submitting a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2024. It's a thoughtful plan that furthers our progressive values and our priorities as New Yorkers, but also ensures fiscal responsibility.

Our $227 billion budget will include unprecedented investments in areas that will make a positive impact in people's lives, that'll make the New York dream real, and as I said, make it safer, more affordable, more livable. So let's dive into the specifics.

Number one, priority, always has been: Keeping New Yorkers safe. Full stop. During my time as Governor, we developed new strategies, new programs. We're starting to finally see the results. Last year, working with the Legislature, we strengthened our gun laws and we saw double digit decreases in homicides and shootings.

Our subways are getting safer too. Just last week, Mayor Adams and I spoke about the fact that there was a 16 percent decrease in major subway crimes just since we implemented our plan where the state and the city worked together. We called it Cops, Cameras, and Care program to give people that sense of security they need to go on our subways.

We need to build on these successes and work to make sure that not only everyone feels safe, but they are safe - on our subways in our schools, on the streets, places of worship and even in a grocery store. That's why we're focused on three major areas.

Number one, we'll continue to be laser focused on the gun violence epidemic - making progress, but I'll never be satisfied. Because the number of senseless deaths from illegal guns is devastating for families all across our state.

But number two, we have to ensure that our criminal justice system is a true system of justice for all that respects the rights of individuals.

And number three, we're going to keep investing in our communities, those that are most under siege from gun violence and redeploying our State Police to be that extra help on the ground that the cities are asking us for.

So first, our $337 million plan to reduce gun violence is part of that. We'll be making the largest investment ever in our gun involved violence elimination initiative. And communities appreciate this. I've heard from a lot of mayors who say this is working. The money will go to the communities hardest hit. We'll open new crime analysis centers to assist in solving crimes, more data sharing for our local partners, and continue our New York led, first in the nation, nine states focused, working together, sharing information, tracking the traffickers to stop the flow of illegal guns from coming into our state.

And finally, we must target more resources for youth employment programs, expanding summer youth programs, after school programs, job training, other ideas for the kids, so we can divert them away from the temptations of the street, the gangs that are preying on them, and give them a more hopeful future. That's what I want to do.

It's also a fact that our criminal justice system was absolutely paralyzed during the pandemic. And today, it's still clogged with backlogs denying justice to far too many. We will give our court appointed attorneys their first raise in 20 years. And we'll fund our district attorneys so they can meet the discovery demands and move cases along more quickly. And we'll double our investment in alternatives to incarceration, especially for those that are suffering from addiction and mental health challenges, so they can be served by community-based programs that we know work.

And lastly, I said in my State of the State Address, I'm looking forward to a thoughtful conversation with the Legislature about our bail laws. I reaffirmed my belief in the necessity of making changes and will not turn our backs on the progress that was made. But conflicting language in the law leads to confusion and a lack of accountability for the judges that make their determinations.

So let's just simply provide clarity. Let's ensure judges consider factors for serious offenders, and let's leave the law where it is for low level offenses. We move forward, and focus on to our other public safety challenges.

As the third part of our plan on public safety, I've directed the State Police to play a more direct role in combating the violent crime that have asked for our help. We're going to have an additional $12.8 million to help us expand our Community Stabilization Units. And these members will be highly trained. These are the best of the best, and they understand the need to build trust in our communities that has been shattered, and we'll hold them to the highest levels of policing.

And if making communities safe is our goal, fixing our mental health system is an important part of that. Mental health in the State of New York has suffered from disinvestment for so long, and the pandemic only made things worse. And for people who are struggling with mental illness —  severe mental illness - they deserve a system that actually works.

That's why we're fully funding a proposal to overhaul the whole way we deal with them with long-term investments, a billion dollars to transform New York's continuum of care — 1,000 inpatient psychiatric beds, 150 new beds in state facilities. And that's just the beginning, bringing over 850 back online with meaningful wraparound services. That's what's happened before. Someone gets treated, they're back on the street. They're back where they were. We're not making a profound difference. So, we have to make sure that no one gets left behind. Everyone gets the treatment they deserve.

And society has to stop ignoring the fact that our kids are suffering. What they went through, the pandemic, the isolation, being away from their norms, their classes, their friends. Right now, too many schools in our state provide little or no mental health support for these children. So, we're investing $10 million to expand school-based services across the state, more programs for these kids.

We're going to require insurance companies to cover mental health services, because it's part of people's health, and also focus on people suffering from opioid addiction. And particularly, with the knowledge that deaths and overdoses here in New York, at one point they were starting to tip downward, and they've increased 53 percent from 2018 to 2021 alone. There are too many families, including my own, that know the deep loss of losing a loved one, and now fentanyl has its hands wrapped around people's necks, suffocating them, and they can't escape.

So, in concert with our federal and local partners, we're going to keep working hard to stop those deadly drugs from coming to our communities, but also expanding access to the tools that'll keep our people alive. We're going to create a new interagency task force, one of my highest priorities. I worked on this as Lieutenant Governor before, we made some profound changes. And we're going to do that again. 

We'll examine every possible solution to this crisis, treat people experiencing addiction as people who are human beings who just need our help. And we'll provide tangible support, including housing. You can't just say, "You're out on the streets." Our plan is to build over 3,500 residential units supported by intensive mental health services. 

And because housing is a basic human right, I believe that a safe, affordable home should not be out of reach for New Yorkers, and yet it is. That needs to change. In my State of the State Address, I announced the New York Housing Compact, a bold plan to finally address New York's housing crisis by creating 800,000 new homes over the new next decade. And that's on top of our - last year, working with the legislature - $25 billion investment to create 100,000 affordable housing units.

So, this year we have to work together to increase the housing supply, and our goal is for housing stock in communities downstate is to grow by 3 percent, upstate by 1 percent every three years. It's very manageable. Spent a lot of time in local government, it's very doable, and we'll work with our local partners. But the whole objective is so families can stay in New York, kids can raise their own families where they grew up, employers don't have to worry about whether or not there's going to be employees in a community to have a place to live so people can access high quality, good paying jobs, and realize their own dreams. 

We've failed so far. No longer is failure an option. And this is not a one-size-fit-all approach. Local governments - again, 14 years of local government, I know what they can do. We can bring them to this. They decide how they meet these targets, whether it's developing old office parks, making changes to their zoning codes, we'll help them. We'll partner with them with incentives, and we'll have a $250 million infrastructure fund because I know from my experience, that's often the barrier. Well, who's going to pay for the sewers, the roads, the schools? Because we are all in this together, we'll help them in ways like never before. And $20 million for planning assistance funds. Not every town has a large planning department. Let's help people. We can do that, and we'll support their efforts to change their zoning laws and make it easier to build housing.

And another way to encourage growth in the New York City metropolitan area is something known as transit-oriented development. If you've not seen this, you need to go visit one of these sites. Extraordinary transformations of communities that are around these incredible train stations. We've spent a lot of money on train stations. They are beautiful, and the trains are equipped with Wi-Fi. They're functioning. They create a whole different experience. And the land around those train stations has grown dramatically in value, and yet there's a parking lot sitting there, run-down warehouses, abandoned shops? We can do better than that. Oh, I know we can.

So, we have invested in MTA's world-class commuter lines, and they are world-class. We've connected more people to jobs, we've created thriving downtowns, and that's why it makes just all the sense in the world to build new housing in those areas. So, as part of the compact within the next three years, any municipality with a train station or a subway station can be part of the solution. They have to allow a minimum amount of housing within a half a mile of the station.

Now, this also helps their tax base. And I know how important it's to localities to expand your tax base, and tell employers, "We're open for business." We're going to help them catalyze change like they've never seen before — all positive.

So, the bottom line is, the more houses we build, you increase the housing stock, the prices go down. It's called supply demand. And then New Yorkers get what they deserve - options, opportunities. And we have to make sure that the housing is safe. We have a lot of old housing stock here in the State of New York. I think it's among the oldest in the country.

No New York child should ever be exposed and grow up in a home where they have lead poisoning. Despite the progress you've made, and there's places like Rochester that are doing a phenomenal job. I was just visiting them to find out how they drove down those numbers so incredibly over the last decade. We have over 7,000 kids still newly diagnosed, in this day and age, with lead poison. We know what it does to them, holds them back. Greater chance of being held back in school, not getting services, sometimes ending up at the wrong end of the criminal justice system. We're going to invest nearly $40 million to create a fund to have a lead inspection requirement in rental properties in the 24 hardest hit communities. That's just to get started.

But also, we think about our kids. It may sound cliche, but the key to their future is a good quality education and we have to prepare the next generation for success. Last year, legislature, executive — we worked together. I divided more than $31 billion in school aid. More than anyone could have imagined before. But this year, we're going to break the records again because we have to. Our kids are still struggling. Our teachers have been through so much. We've lost a lot of teachers. We need to attract them. So, to get our kids back on track, we're going to invest $34.5 billion — the largest school aid increase ever — and a 2.7 billion increase in foundation aid, fully funding the formula for the first time in history. We're investing in career and technical education because not everybody has to go to college.

I was just in Buffalo, talked to a guy who wants to build 500 jobs. He said 85 percent of them will only require a high school degree. Majority Leader, I told him there's a lot of openings in East Side of Buffalo. That's actually where he is looking now. So, you don't need a college degree. These are good paying jobs, so let's give people the training they need. So, with $20 million more in grant funding will support those programs, new early college high schools, P-Tech programs. There's a lot of ideas out there. And I'm committed to ensuring that kids get the high-quality education they deserve, and that parents have the options that they deserve to meet the needs of their children.

And to help the affordability crisis for parents, we're going to continue our investments in child care, increasing it to an unprecedented $7.6 billion over the next four years. As the first mother to lead this state, I know how real this is. I know how important it is, but believe it or not, in our state with the resources we already have to help people, only 10 percent of families are eligible in taking advantage of it. Why is that? I believe the system has been designed to be so cumbersome, so complicated that people say, "Why bother?" That's not how government should work, and it won't work that way anymore.

We are creating instant eligibility for parents who already received some level of government support, so we know they need the help, they would qualify based on their income, automatically eligible for child care and expand access to families, again, increasing the income eligibility. When I first took office, the maximum you could earn to have this kind of assistance was $55,000 for a family of four. That doesn't work. We've made increases since Fiscal Year 2022 to increase that to a higher level. Nearly half a million families are now eligible. Half a million families are eligible for child care assistance. We're lowering child care copays, providing support for the providers, who really during the pandemic, they were the first responders for our first responders. They helped people get to work when we really needed them to.

And parents should never have to choose between earning a paycheck and caring for their child. And that's why we're building on the progress of New York State's paid family leave, but why isn't that available for state employees? State employees want to have families. We're going to take steps to offer this for state employees, 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave for our workers. And we're going to institute this policy as soon as possible. And for unrepresented employees, we'll have it for them, but also for our unions. Let's work with the unions. Let's make progress to get this accomplished through collective bargaining.

In the backdrop of all these challenges here in our state, there's one that's even larger that affects everyone who lives on this earth, and that is climate change — the greatest threat to our children and grandchildren. Yes, we have the nation's most ambitious plan. We're proud of it. But I am never one to rest on our laurels. Not now, not ever. We'll continue to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations. We'll make those investments today that promote energy affordability, reduce emissions and invest in clean air and water. And one of those ways is to implement a nation-leading Cap and Invest program. This will limit greenhouse emissions, it prioritizes health and it's established to ease the financial burden on hardworking families, homeowners and renters, especially our seniors who are so worried and struggling to pay their utility bills, especially during this brutally cold winter.

In my State of the State address, I said we'll help low-income families insulate their homes, upgrade their appliances, get new heating systems, and we're investing $200 million to do just that. We're investing an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding, and all this is on top of the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act that the voters told us they wanted just a few months ago.

So, while these climate initiatives will protect the health of future generations, we're also focused on the health of New Yorkers today. And if anything, that pandemic told us and taught us how critically important it is for people to have access to good quality health care. And it shined a glaring light on the disparities that have existed long before in our health care system.

Last year we made the largest investment, again, in history - you hear that a lot, but it's true - largest investment in health care in the state's history. But as we continue to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic and other challenges, we're doubling down and investing an additional $1 billion to address health care needs, and that's to make sure that we're prepared for future public health emergencies, but also $500 million to invest in transformative capital funding, help our hospitals, while being laser focused on underserved communities where the health outcomes are the poorest.

We'll also establish a new health care technology program — leaning into telehealth services. Again, you think about the simplicity of getting a checkup by using your iPad or your cellphone, talking to a doctor, your therapist, mental health provider.

And also as we speak about health, while reproductive health is under assault in every other part of the country, many parts of our country, certainly in the Supreme Court, I will never, ever waiver in my belief that, that is a basic fundamental right. And I commend the legislature for passing an amendment to the state constitution that will enshrine abortion rights into law and that will be on the ballot in 2024.

Addressing our changing health care needs is just the start when it comes to our economic recovery. A lot of jobs were lost, a lot of people still suffering — our doctors, our nurses, health care providers.

But we also had to focus on the overall economy. As I mentioned, ninth, 10th, largest in the world. We have to make significant investments in economic development, which I translate to jobs. Jobs. And as we're working to become the most worker friendly and the most business friendly, we are having success attracting top companies. I spend a lot of my time doing this. Like Micron, the global leader in semiconductor manufacturing that's investing $100 billion over the next 20 years — 50,000 jobs that could have gone anywhere else.

But here's what we have to do: not just say that's a one off and high five, that was great. How do we build the whole ecosystem around this? So we have to build the pipeline and the supply chain opportunities. That's who I'm talking to now. Suppliers of companies like this. And there's companies from Long Island to Buffalo who want a piece of this action.

So we're going to establish the first ever Office of Semiconductor Expansion, Management, and Integration to make it easier, more seamless when companies can go anywhere, we want them to be part of our whole new ecosystem.

But it's not just about creating those jobs for tomorrow, it's about preparing our people for those jobs today with new expanded workforce development programs, and also because a lot of people, individuals, 900,000 people making minimum wage, they're still struggling. No one could have foreseen the effects of inflation. It's starting to get a little better, but it kind of created this sense of anxiety and insecurity.

And that's why I announced a plan to peg the minimum wage to inflation to give you the purchasing power that you lost because of forces outside your control. So when prices go up, so will wages.

We'll also ensure that the people who feed our state, the farmers — don't ever forget the farmers, they work so hard - they need to have the resources to do their work. We're going to make the Investment Tax Credit for farmers refundable for five years, something they've asked for. And we're directing our state agencies to create a whole new marketplace for our farmers and state funded programs will buy their food from New York farmers. We'll invest in our farmers, invest in the economy.

We're also going to continue making investments in infrastructure. We're going to continue to expand our public transit access, affordability, safety. And for many, many New Yorkers, the MTA is the lifeblood. And if we don't invest in that, then we will not be looked upon favorably by future generations. So, we must continue to invest in the MTA, invests in transit, invest in railroads.

And over the last year, a lot of ribbon cuttings. We completed the Long Island Railroad's Third Track. Last week, I took a ride on the brand new Grand Central Madison. Now if you don't live there, you don't realize the insanity of coming in from Long Island, having to go across the entire Borough of Manhattan to Penn Station in order to get back to the East Side. No longer, that was fixed.

We're moving forward with the Second Avenue subway to help eliminate the transit deserts that have kept too many people in places like Harlem, from the good paying jobs that are for many people, not far away, but if you live there, it's impossible to get to without much of your time being wasted.

The Interboro Express connecting two boroughs - what a radical idea that you don't have to go into Manhattan from Queens to get back out to Brooklyn. We're moving fast on that project of ours, I'm excited about it.

And Penn Access. Yesterday, I was just with President Biden to mark the commencement of a long overdue, much anticipated Gateway Tunnel that'll ultimately transport people - it's the busiest transit corridor in our nation — but also some of them will be going into a brand new, revitalized Penn Station because our transportation system has to be safe, reliable, on time. And why can't it be a pleasant experience? Why can't it be uplifting? Why can't you see the sky instead of being in the dredges and darkness? That's going to change.

But also, a lot of people rely on buses. We have to increase their frequency, riders' safety. We're going to be automating, installing automated bus lane enforcement cameras on 900 buses, so people can give the space that they're supposed to give to our buses.

Also, we're investing $20 million to electrify buses for non-MTA authorities, boosting the clean energy economy of tomorrow and driving New Yorkers to cleaner, greener modes of transportation.

Now, I mentioned the MTA a couple of times. New Yorkers, New York City residents, is Janno here? I don't know if Janno is here, I'm not going to forget you. Okay? We have to face the harsh reality of MTA's fiscal cliff. A problem that was created by almost the complete cessation of ridership during the pandemic, except for the emergency workers and first responders and health care workers.

Everybody else stayed home. And a lot of people working remotely haven't quite found their way back. We're focusing on safety, reliability, being on time and all that goes toward creating a different environment than they would've had a year or two ago. That's what we have to get out there. But the pandemic totally altered how we behave, how we work, where we work.

So, that sustained decrease in ridership that we had hoped would pop back by now. We have to deal in realities. It's not there yet. I believe it'll come back, but we're not there yet. So, it created a new dynamic for the MTA's finances, and this is not going to be a short-term problem. It's one we're going to have to face together going forward and requires fiscal discipline and action at all levels of government.

I propose a multi-faceted solution that includes $400 million in savings and efficiencies without service cuts. That is obviously the easiest way to do it, but that is counterintuitive. You can't invite people back and tell them, "Well you'll have a longer wait on the platform." That doesn't work.

So, we'll find those efficiencies working with the MTA. They have a plan. We'll also be reallocating some of our federal funds to reduce the cost of capital. We'll have increased contributions from the City of New York, but I'm also proposing to help in the long term, that a share of future casino revenues, those in the MTA region, if there are any, stay tuned, that'll go to the MTA. Part of that will go to the MTA as a dedicated funding source, and also, we'll have an increased state contribution, growing to more than a billion dollars funded in part by a small increase from 0.34 percent to 0.5 percent in the existing payroll mobility tax.

And in addition to these investments to ensure the long-term health of the agency, it also ensures that we're focusing on public safety. And making this plan work is going to have a little bit of sacrifice from all stakeholders to just make sure that we're all doing our share, because there are no other options. The MTA must continue. It must continue being safe, reliable, and available for New Yorkers.

So, as I mentioned in my State of the State Address where I shared my priorities, once again, reaffirming my priorities to make New York safer, more affordable, create more opportunities for New Yorkers of today, but especially for New Yorkers of tomorrow.

Word is getting out. This is the place to be. And I tell everyone, you do not want to miss an extraordinary comeback because there's an energy here, an energy that was lost for too long, but I can feel it. I walk the streets of our smallest communities, biggest communities, doesn't matter.

People are starting to feel good again about this state, and I'm proud of that. And we're going to continue opening doors of opportunity to people who have been historically blocked from equal access and success. We're going to continue to protect and enshrine the basic rights that we cherish here in New York as other states slide backwards. And we'll continue to be nation-leading in every way when it comes to combating climate change, meeting the housing demand, mental health — whatever it is, this is New York. We will be nation-leading, and the nation expects that. They do look to us.

I've laid a lot out. We have more to do. There's a lot more in the budget book. This is just some of the top lines. I'll just say this, when I was a young attorney working on Capitol Hill for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it's true I didn't have any many female role models to look up to, but there was one who had just left the political world but was still a force who distinguished herself, a New Yorker. Someone who still inspires me to this day when I think about the challenges she overcame as being one of the first, and that's Representative Shirley Chisholm. 

She once said something that I take to heart. You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining how tough it is. You make progress by implementing your ideas, period.

This is a pivotal moment for our state. We can't just sit on the sidelines, wish things were different. If we want to make real progress for our people, we can. And I believe that the members of the Legislature want to do that. You know that I want to do that. And I believe we'll also be judged by our constituents of today, but perhaps generations from now, and they'll have that question, "Did New York State meet the moment and actually implement the ideas that'll help everyone achieve the New York dream?"

In my heart, I believe that by working together in the partnership, that people expect the partnership, we've already established we can, and we will.

Thank you very much.

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