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Local lawmakers react to Gov. Hochul’s first State of the State address

Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during the State of the State address Wednesday January 5, 2022
Mike Groll
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during the State of the State address Wednesday January 5, 2022

For the first time in a decade, the State of the State address was held in the New York State Assembly chambers. Gov. Kathy Hochul told New Yorkers that she knows they’re exhausted, but there is reason to hope.

Hochul outlined what she called a “once in a lifetime response” to a “once in a lifetime pandemic.”

Assemblymember Pamela Hunter (D-Syracuse) said it’s a message that central New Yorkers need to hear.

"I was impressed,” said Hunter. “I thought the governor was spot on in acknowledging the issues that New York is facing and had plans to address some of our most challenging."

Hunter said she appreciates the governor’s emphasis on helping people who are struggling in the wake of the pandemic, including accelerating a tax cut for middle income earners, a property tax rebate, and working toward more affordable child care.

State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) said Hochul's proposal for a $1 billion property tax rebate couldn't come at a better time.

"It's a good moment to do that, because a lot of people are being hurt by property taxes, and homeowners are struggling, so those efforts are important," said May.

State Sen. John Mannion (D-Syracuse) said Hochul's address offered a new perspective on state government.

"I do believe we have entered in a new era with transparency and engagement with individuals to hear what the real problems of the state are, and she’s open to solutions and being creative and thinking outside the box," said Mannion.

However, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) said he was disappointed with the speech, saying the governor played it safe.

"We face the COVID pandemic, we face the exodus of people leaving our state, the economy, and she didn't say much on how to solve that,” said Barclay. “Are we going to continue to do the same old thing we've done decades and decades instead of maybe chartering a new course?"

Barclay said he would have liked to see a more detailed plan to help reduce crime, bring in more healthcare workers, and boost the economy.

Gov. Hochul’s speech pledged investments in construction and infrastructure, including an initiative to find and train workers for the positions more in need.

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D- Syracuse)—who serves as the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee—said he’s hopeful our area will see economic development like it has never seen before in the coming year.

"It's going to affect everything,” said Magnarelli. “It's going to affect our education system, our healthcare system, our housing system. Everything is going to be affected by what I hope is going to happen."

The details of the governor’s proposals will be outlined in the executive budget, which is scheduled to be released later this month.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.