This week, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State Message. Governor Hochul was narrowly elected to a full term when Andrew Cuomo resigned after serious allegations of sexual misconduct. It was the first time in several years that the annual speech was given to a joint session of the Senate and Assembly, and it kicked off what is expected to be a challenging session with the Legislature.
Titled, “Achieving the New York Dream,” the Governor laid out an ambitious agenda to “create a more affordable, more livable and safer New York.”
Many of her plans seemed squarely aimed at helping New York City navigate its way to recovery and her partnership with New York Mayor Eric Adams is dramatically different than her predecessor’s rocky relationship with former Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Ms. Hochul’s loftiest rhetoric described her far reaching billion-dollar plan to close some of the gaps in the mental health system for New Yorkers. She also highlighted her efforts to enhance the public safety in all corners of the state and enlisted the Legislature stating that “crime is the top concern.” The Governor highlighted other initiatives for this budget and legislative session including:
- A plan to tackle the dire shortage of housing statewide to meet the goal of 800,000 new housing units over the next 10 years;
- An effort to ensure that the minimum wage keeps pace with inflation by raising it annually in step with rises in consumer prices;
- Expanding access to childcare by providing $7 billion over four years for affordable childcare;
- Mandating that all new construction be zero-emission starting in 2025 for small buildings and starting in 2028 for large buildings;
- Direct $1.3 billion in annual state procurement funds to food grown in New York to create an additional demand for New York agricultural products;
- Establish a “Future of Health Care Commission” to drive a “holistic, data-driven view” of the State’s health care delivery system;
- Promised to invest in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s long term fiscal health; and,
- Increasing public safety initiatives and investments to drive down gun and violent crimes.
Governor Hochul also mentioned three procurement reforms that she will be advocating in this legislative session:
- Streamlining the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification process by pursuing reciprocity with other state and local certification programs;
- Accelerating the use of electronic signature technology within state government, starting with a select group of state agencies; and,
- Adopting an eProcurement system to facilitate digital transactions with vendors, increase standardization across procurements and create a single point of entry for vendors to view solicitations and manage state contracts
Further details on these executive initiatives will be available when Governor Hochul introduces the State’s 2023-24 Executive Budget.