ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered his 2014 State of the State Address, Wednesday, outlining his agenda for the upcoming year.
In the address, Cuomo outlined his plan to build upon his last 3 years in office in which he set out to: reduce spending below inflation and personal income growth for the first time in 40 years, turn a $10 billion deficit into a $2 billion surplus, reduce unemployment across the state, and create nearly 400,000 new private sector jobs, among many other points.
His 2014 agenda focused on continuing the progress his administration has already made by controlling spending while cutting taxes to create jobs, expanding successful economic policies and rebuilding infrastructure, making bold new investments to transform classrooms and improve the quality of education for all students, and continuing to fight for equal rights and opportunity for all New Yorkers.
"Three years ago, we pledged to make the government work for the people of New York, transform our economy by reducing taxes and attracting business, develop world-class schools that give every student opportunity, and make New York a progressive leader once again," Governor Cuomo said. "Today, we have hundreds of thousands more private sector jobs, a lower unemployment rate in all ten regions of the state, schools that are held accountable for our children's success, safer communities, more affordable healthcare and a fairer, more just state. This year, we will build on that success.
"For 2014, we have put forth the most comprehensive plan for the future of New York yet. This agenda will grow the economy and provide fiscal relief to taxpayers, give our schools the classrooms of tomorrow, reimagine infrastructure across the state to face the new climate reality, and take steps to make our communities safer, fairer, cleaner and more progressive. Working together, we will continue to move New York forward."
Here are key highlights proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his 2014 State of the State address, according to the AP:
- Support for universal all-day pre-kindergarten programs statewide.
- A new SUNY College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, with former New York City police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a special adviser.
- A $2 billion "Smart Schools" bond referendum to help modernize classrooms.
- A "Teacher Excellence Fund" to give teachers rated highly effective up to $20,000 in annual supplemental compensation.
- Finalize plans for siting new casino resorts upstate by early fall.
- A $2.2 billion package of tax relief for New York residents and businesses.
- Increasing the New York estate tax threshold to $5.25 million from $1 million.
- An "Upstate-Downstate Food-to-Table Summit" to link farmers with new markets.
- A "New York State Adventure License," a driver's license with icons for all of an individual's sporting licenses, the Boater Safety Certificate and
the lifetime Empire Pass to state parks.
- Freeze property taxes for some owners and provide a refundable personal income tax credit to give some renters property tax relief.
- A goal of awarding 5 percent of state contracts to the businesses of disabled veterans.
- Launch a pilot medical marijuana research program allowing up to 20 hospitals to provide the drug to patients with certain serious illnesses.
- Take over responsibility for airport construction from the Port Authority and modernize the JFK and LaGuardia airports.
- Upgrade parts of the New York City commuter rail system to protect it from disasters and increase capacity.
- Study improvements in the road network linking I-81 in Watertown to I-87 in Champlain.
- Replacing and repairing 104 older bridges at risk due to increasing flooding.
- Crack down on drunk and drugged driving, including revoking the licenses of people convicted three times in their lives.
- A law that would suspend a driver's license for from six months to a year for anyone under age 21 convicted of texting-while-driving.
For more information regarding the policies and goals that Governor Cuomo set forth in the Address, visit governor.ny.gov.