NY lawmakers, organizations react to part one of State of the State

NY State of State 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered part one of the 2021 State of the State address from the War Room at the NYS Capitol on Monday, January 11, 2021.

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York lawmakers, officials and organizations released statements Monday in response to Part One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

The Governor will have a four-part series of speeches outlining his plan for New York in 2021. He spoke on a variety issues but focused a lot of his time on the COVID-19 pandemic and how New York has responded.

Cuomo will give speeches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday further outlining his goals.

Below are some responses to part one:

New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy

“The state of our state is that New York is in crisis. 
We are facing a fiscal crisis, a public safety crisis, a population crisis…
But most of all we are facing a leadership crisis. 
The chief executive of this state–Governor Andrew Cuomo–has not just presided over New York’s decline this past decade, he is the architect of it. 
By any objective measure, New York is in serious trouble. 
The state of our state requires a sense of urgency and action. 
This isn’t the time to pull punches–New Yorkers need to hear it straight. They want the truth. 
Cuomo was right about one thing–New York is suffering and abused–but it’s at the hands of our own state government. 
Our problems started long before covid and they aren’t the fault of anyone else, including the federal government–they are the direct result of bad state policies. 
They are the direct result of a governor who is only consumed with his own power and publicity, while everything he touches is corrupted, mismanaged or destroyed. 
Covid is perhaps the best example of the charade he has tried to perpetuate on New Yorkers. 
The governor deserves credit for knowing how to put on a show–heck he earned an Emmy for it. 
He was filtered into everyone’s living rooms talking about mama’s meatballs, the boyfriend and movie night with his daughters. 
But for the other 23 hours a day when the bright lights of the cameras were off, Andrew Cuomo was mismanaging this virus. 
His deadly order that forced nursing homes to accept covid-positive patients and prohibited testing led to the deaths of more than 12,000 elderly New Yorkers. He was the ONLY governor in America who adopted that combination of deadly policies.  
We still don’t even know the true number of deaths because he’s engaged in a coverup. 
His petty power-struggle with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has created chaos, confusion and frustration among New Yorkers. 
His unemployment system was a colossal failure, taking months for New Yorkers to register and receive their first check. 
His arbitrary and punitive shutdowns have been ruled unconstitutional and destroyed the livelihoods of low and middle-income New Yorkers who were already struggling to make ends meet in the tax and regulatory hell that is the state of New York. 
He changes the rules to suit his whims, without a care for how it impacts people’s lives. 
Our small businesses were shut down, while big box stores thrived. The governor called them “essential.” 
To this day, businesses like restaurants are shut down to indoor dining, despite a transmission rate of only 1.4% by this own math. 
That is lower than New York City schools, which the governor called the safest place to be, but in Cuomo’s New York, facts are applied very subjectively. 
What’s worse, is that as New Yorkers were dying and having their livelihoods and their futures stolen from them overnight, Cuomo was focused on making a crude commemorative self-congratulatory poster and writing a memoir.  
We have the worst death rate of any state in the nation, nearly 39,000 New Yorkers. Close to double that of Florida, which has a greater population. 
There was light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the response of the Trump Administration that delivered the vaccine to New York, but once again Cuomo’s mismanagement is preventing it from getting into people’s arms. 
New York lags behind 26 other states in getting the vaccine administered and currently 66% of doses are sitting on the shelves in New York City. 
Medical providers were forced to throw precious vaccines away because they couldn’t find eligible recipients that fit into the governor’s restrictive and complicated guidelines. 
It’s a disgrace. 
The Governor announced that drug addicts and sex offenders in prison would have access to the vaccination before the NYPD or the elderly. 
The gross absurdity of it is almost too much to believe. 
But that is the truth we live in as New Yorkers. 
More than a third of our small businesses are permanently closed. 
More than half of our restaurants are facing the same fate. 
New York’s economic recovery has been one of the slowest in the nation, bogged down by our highest in the nation taxes, worst business climate and most onerous regulations. 
New York’s economy was on its knees before covid–now it is in a full-blown death spiral. 
We are facing a $59 billion shortfall. 
$59 BILLION DOLLARS!
And the Governor and Democrat-controlled legislature’s only plan to address it is through higher taxes, sports betting and marijuana. 
That is not going to solve this crisis.
New York doesn’t have a revenue problem–we have a tax and spend problem. 
The only result raising taxes will have is sending more residents and jobs fleeing out of New York. 
Our population continues to decline more than any state in the nation. 
We are hemorrhaging people and jobs. Goldman Sachs has added itself to the growing chorus of Wall Street firms moving out of New York. 
The financial services industry is critical to New York. Not only for the good jobs they provide, but for the enormous tax revenue that they contribute. 
Another important industry– real estate–has been decimated. The Democrat leaders who run New York have enacted extreme liberal policies that have trampled on property owners’ rights. 
Our poor economic policies are compounded by the very dangerous destruction of our criminal justice system. 
New Yorkers have watched as violent career criminals are emboldened by a new revolving door system of justice and the elimination of cash bail, courtesy of Cuomo and NY Democrats. 
Two decades of falling crime rates in New York City have been reversed and replaced with horrifying statistics. 
Murders are up 40%. 
Burglaries are up 41% and shootings have doubled. 
Our brave men and women in law enforcement are demoralized and dejected by anti-police rhetoric and policies that put them in handcuffs instead of the criminals. 
This past summer, we watched as cities across New York were being destroyed by rioters and looters. Out of control mobs were burning small businesses and stealing people’s American Dream. Yet cowardly Democrat politicians across the state remained silent, too intimidated to cross the radical left who they are held hostage to. 
Our law enforcement needed help, but Cuomo refused to call in the national guard and insulted them as simply meal delivery men and women. 
Hardworking, law-abiding New Yorkers and crime victims got the loud and clear message that they are not the priority of this government. 
That must change. 
Common sense must make a comeback in the state of New York. 
Families at home make hard decisions every day about how to manage their budgets and their priorities. 
It’s time for state government to start doing the same. 
What we do now will dictate what kind of state we have left for the next generation. 
How can we help those less fortunate if we have no one left to pay the bills? 
How can we create a safe community and help crime victims when we let their perpetrators right back out on the street? 
How can we help our immigrants and our young people realize their entrepreneurial dreams if we make it impossible to run a small business? 
What kind of state do we want for our kids and our grandchildren? 
Those are the questions every New Yorker must ask themselves. 
This governor has had 10 years in charge. He has a rubber-stamp legislature who abdicated all their power to him. 
And I call on those leaders to take back their power–do your job. Speaker Heastie and Senate Leader Stewart Cousins were just sworn in and re-elected to lead their chambers. 
They must start fulfilling their constitutional duties and return New York to representative democracy. 
We are not a monarchy or a dictatorship. New Yorkers must have a voice through their elected representatives. 
One person and one-Party rule has not served this state well. 
New York Republicans have put forth an agenda that will revive our state. 
The recipe is not complicated. 
We need to tax less. Let hardworking New York taxpayers keep more of their money. 
We need to repeal the onerous regulations that act like a wet blanket on our ability to create and grow jobs. 
We need to spend within our means and stop wasting money. 
We need to send a message that if you violate someone’s safety, there will be consequences. 
We need to respect those who risk so much for our safety. 
And, most importantly, we need to return state government to the PEOPLE.  
There is much angst in our country right now. We truly are at a pivotal moment. 
People have lost trust in our institutions and been let down by those empowered with leading them. 
We are experiencing a trampling of our rights, a movement to suppress free speech and censorship at the highest levels by out-of-control Big Tech. 
Instead of working to bridge our divides, this governor has worked tirelessly to deepen them. He thrives on them, because for him, it is a deflection tool to distract from his failures. 
He needs New Yorkers to be angry and divided because uniting us will have devastating consequences for him. 
That is why he says things like conservatives have no place in New York. 
Since the events that unfolded last Wednesday, he had a chance to rise to the moment. 
To change his tone, his rhetoric and his partisanship. 
Instead, he and his taxpayer-funded staff have worked overtime ginning it up. 
He has failed to deliver, once again.  

New York used to be a symbol for hope and that anything is possible. 
Now, unfortunately, we are a symbol of failed leadership, failed policies and failed opportunities. 
We need a new dawn in this state. 
A new era, that respects the taxpaying, law-abiding citizens of New York. 
That decentralizes power from Albany and puts it back into the hands of its rightful owners–the people. 
The key to our future is not an extreme ideological agenda–it’s a return to common sense. 
We can rise up again. We can return New York to greatness. 
To be a state that attracts people and businesses–a state that embraces those who put it all on the line to fulfill their destiny. 
—-
The phrase New York tough is thrown around a lot–and New Yorkers are tough. But instead of forcing them to be tough to endure the hardships this state puts on them, let’s lift those burdens and invest that energy into our state’s future. 
The results will be transformative. 
I am asking you to join our mission. To reject the status quo. 
To reject decline and demand better from those in power. 
We can, because we are Americans and we are New Yorkers. There is nothing we cannot do when we put our hearts and minds together and fight for a better future. 
One nation…one state…under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 
Thank you. 
And God bless the people of the State of New York.”

NYS REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN NICK LANGWORTHY

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

“This year’s State of the State Address should have been a moment focused on New York’s recovery, with specific plans, details and optimism that 19.5 million New Yorkers have been waiting for. While we’re told additional information will be forthcoming, we hope to receive more substance than a compilation of previous briefings and additional finger-pointing at Washington, D.C.
 
    Fortunately, Gov. Cuomo acknowledged the need for fiscal recovery and greater commitment to infrastructure, improving broadband access and reinforcing the state’s health care preparedness. Certainly, I agree with him on these goals. But he presented far too little on help for small businesses, direct assistance to families, future logistics on the state’s slow vaccination roll-out or how he plans to address New York’s mounting debt and precarious budget deficit. 
 
    The governor has chosen to provide three more presentations this week, and I look forward to future proposals containing more substance than we heard today. After all they endured in 2020, New Yorkers don’t need more words from their elected officials – they need immediate action.”

ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER WILL BARCLAY

NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

“Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State message outlined a strong agenda for New York as we navigate through unprecedented challenges. I commend the Governor for his emphasis on beating the COVID-19 pandemic and on improving public health. The Governor properly underscored the urgency of federal assistance to address the economic and revenue damage New York has suffered. In the coming days, I look forward to hearing his proposals on other key issues, including racial equality, criminal justice reform and improving the election process.”

NYS COMPTROLLER THOMAS DINAPOLI

Albany County Exec. Dan McCoy

“I applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership demonstrated in his seven point plan. It underscores the need to defeat COVID, get everyone vaccinated, evaluate the long-term impact of the virus on our economy and help us jumpstart it to deal with our short-term financial crisis. We need the federal government to increase the amount of vaccine New York is getting so we can vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible. We have expanded the number of vaccination sites and are going mobile to distribute the shot into the arms of our most vulnerable who don’t have transportation or a way to get to a point of dispensing site. It’s about fair distribution and equity.

“The same is true of the governor’s plan to make broadband access affordable. When the pandemic started, we knew our families in the Hilltowns were at a disadvantage with limited internet access. That’s why we established a partnership with Hudson Valley Wireless so internet access would be expanded and wouldn’t present an undue financial burden.

“I also support the governor when it comes to mental health outreach and support of local police agencies responding to 911 calls. Albany County has offered Crisis Intervention Training to law enforcement agencies since 2016. Over 300 officers have been educated and informed around issues related to mental illness, de-escalation techniques, officer wellness and community resources. Additionally, our Mobile Crisis Team has been working closely with law enforcement calls involving psychiatric distress to divert individuals from hospitalization and/or incarceration whenever possible.

“I look forward to the governor releasing other details in the days and weeks to come.”

ALBANY COUNTY EXEC. DAN MCCOY

Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce

“Fortune favors the bold. We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bold and decisive leadership in the ongoing war on COVID-19 and moving our great state forward. Our Governor’s agenda for 2021 will lead us through this crisis and set us on a path to emerge better and stronger than ever before. As we have since the beginning of this challenge, the members of the Albany County Legislature stand ready to lead our communities out of these incredibly challenging times, and to partner with Governor Cuomo in these efforts, and to enact his strong vision for all New Yorkers.”

ALBANY COUNTY LEGISLATURE CHAIRMAN ANDREW JOYCE

Sen. Dan Stec

Senator Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury) today said in reaction to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address that the focus needs to be on resetting New York’s economy to create economic activity, jobs and revenue to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

To do that, Stec said the State Legislature needs to begin convening legislative session in-person to start a dialogue among lawmakers.

“Schools and businesses and many other organizations are ‘in-person’ and so, too, should our state government,” said Stec.  “The governor outlined his agenda today.  Members of the Legislature have a lot of ideas and their own goals as well.  But we have to meet.  Working remotely had its time and place but it isn’t an effective way to govern.  We need to  work together safely by following guidelines and come up with solutions.”

Stec said he has heard from constituents frustrated by the slow and confusing roll-out of the COVID vaccines.  

“People, especially older and vulnerable residents, should have access to the vaccine.  The state had months to get ready for this.  The state taking it over initially, instead of working with our counties who prepare every year for this kind of exercise, has been a mistake.  It looks like the message is finally getting through but time is of the essence.”

Stec said he is interested in the governor’s proposal to expand telehealth, which has seen much greater utilization during the health crisis.

“Our hospitals, clinics, doctor offices and mental health providers have all done a tremendous job,” said Stec.  “The use of telehealth is very valuable and improving it makes sense.  Along with the ideas the governor has, he has to recognize that we need better broadband to ensure that everyone can make use of this technology that can help keep them well.”

SEN. DAN STEC

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner

“As I listened to the Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address, I was thrilled to hear
commitments to expanding the workforce to encourage the Green Energy transformation in
NYS, passing the Medical Supplies Act, and improving accessibility to telemedicine.

As the incoming Chair of the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career
Education, as well as the sponsor of the Clean Fuel Standard of 2021 (A.862), I look forward to
working with the Governor on building our workforce to advance New York State’s Green
Energy Transformation. Addressing climate change while creating new jobs in the green energy
sector is critically important to both the environment and the economic future of New York.

I am also pleased that the Governor has committed to the passage and signing of the Medical
Supplies Act, which will prioritize the purchase of American-made PPE and medical supplies.
This bill will incent businesses to produce medical supplies and equipment right here in New
York State. One of the many lessons that we’ve learned over the past year in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic is the critical importance of having biotech and medical supply
manufacturing in-state.

Lastly, it is heartening to hear the Governor’s commitment to expanding access to telemedicine.
Telemedicine is an important tool that will improve accessibility to healthcare, particularly in
rural communities. Over the past two years, I have worked with medical professionals and
experts to craft legislation that will provide for payment parity between telehealth visits and inperson doctors’ visits—as well as to provide for patient protections. Providing for payment parity will make the delivery of telehealth an economically viable mode for physicians and improve availability to those who would benefit from telehealth services. I look forward to reading the Governor’s proposal and working with him to expand access.

However, for the expansion of telehealth services to be successful, we must also expand access
to reliable broadband. In the Governor’s address, he claimed that affordability of broadband
outweighs the issues of accessibility. People in the communities that I represent will tell you that
this is not the case. While affordability is important, there are many areas of Upstate New York
that still do not have access to reliable broadband. Under the current system if one household in a
census tract is connected to broadband, the entire census tract is considered to be “covered.” This
has resulted in a false notion that accessibility is no longer an issue. In the face of a global
pandemic that has forced employees to work from home, students to transition to online learning,
and businesses to go completely online, access to reliable broadband has never been more important. I hope that the Governor will work with the Legislature to expand access, as well as to
increase affordability.”

ASSEMBLYWOMAN CARRIE WOERNER

Sen. John W. Mannion

“Governor Cuomo outlined an ambitious plan to defeat COVID-19 and repair the damage it has caused to the New York State economy. 

I am particularly interested in his plan to train a 100,000-person health care corps, which sounds like an important keystone in the state’s strategy to combat future public health emergencies. 

I strongly support the need for action from Washington, D.C. to address New York’s budget crisis – including reinstating the SALT deduction and increasing taxes on the ultra-wealthy. 

However, Washington is not the solution to all of New York’s problems. I will remain focused on the work we can do in Albany – including enacting mobile sports betting, an equitable plan for legalized adult-use marijuana, and ensuring the richest New Yorkers are paying their fair share. 

Large-scale infrastructure investments are long overdue and must be equitable across the state. Large downstate projects must be matched with equally ambitious thinking and investments – and the corresponding job creation – in Central New York.

I am eager to hear more policy specifics from the governor in the coming days.”

SEN. JOHN W. MANNION

Sen. Joseph Griffo

“The Governor’s words today are a contradiction at best if he does not see that things are worse now than they were in the spring relative to COVID-19. While our state may have been an ambushed by the virus last year, we are still in the middle of a dark night. Despite our efforts, the virus continues to launch a deadly assault stronger and more sustained than before. We see this in diminished resources, capacity, medicine, supplies and equipment at the state’s hospitals and health care facilities. Case numbers, hospitalization rates and deaths are all worse today than in the spring, businesses continue to struggle and the lifestyles of New Yorkers have been altered significantly.

While I respect and appreciate the efforts of all those who have stepped up to combat this invisible enemy, it is time to reassess and readdress our approach and effort. We must ensure that hospitals have the necessary supplies, added capacity, staff and resources needed to accept patients and treat them now. COVID-19 testing must be expanded and made easier and more affordable. The state’s vaccine distribution program is in disarray and the rollout is failing. It must be immediately improved and conducted in accordance with established medical and scientific protocols with no shortcuts due to a lack of supplies. New Yorkers need to know when they are eligible and where they can go to get the vaccine easily.

There is no halftime in this deadly game, despite what the Governor’s book might say, and we cannot afford to let our guard down. We must do better now.”

SEN. JOSEPH GRIFFO

New York Farm Bureau Pres. David Fisher

“New York faces daunting health and economic challenges, many created by the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to impact our rural communities, farm families and employees. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State overview address highlighted many needs including vaccinating our population quickly and effectively while also being creative in boosting our economy. Investment in infrastructure and affordable rural broadband are important steps. We also look forward to hearing more from the Governor in the coming days on his plans for green energy, economic development and support of our local food system that was affected greatly this past year. Our farm communities play a valuable role in strengthening this state, and New York Farm Bureau looks forward to working together with the Governor to move New York forward.”

NEW YORK FARM BUREAU PRES. DAVID FISHER

Conservative Party of NYS Chairman Gerard Kassar

“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State was a pure political speech that failed to address the structural fiscal situation that multiplied the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.  There were no details as to when he intends to return control of the government back to its duly elected representatives, nor when businesses can return to their normal operations, in fact, he noted that further business closings may be needed. Gov. Cuomo’s reliance on the federal government bailout is as shortsighted as his reliance on the sale of recreational marijuana and the institution of mobile sports betting. Bad ideas remain bad ideas even if it helps you gain revenue.  New Yorkers need a Governor that is willing to make the structural changes necessary and show the leadership to provide a path to economic recovery, not the Pollyanna statements made to placate progressives.”

CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF NYS CHAIRMAN GERARD KASSAR

Peter A. Baynes, Executive Director, NYS Conference of Mayors (NYCOM)

“New York’s cities and villages are suffering through tremendous fiscal pain caused solely by the COVID-induced economic slowdown. NYCOM is happy to hear Governor Cuomo’s call in his State of the State address for additional transportation infrastructure funding and increased efforts to avoid urban decline. We also fully support his oft-stated belief that the federal government should not shift its burdens down to local and state governments. Nor, may we add, should state governments push their problems onto the government closest to the people.  Therefore, we call on the Governor to release the more than $250 million in municipal aid the Division of the Budget has withheld from aid payments included in the 2020-21 state budget.  Only by working together will New York State and its local governments be able to crush COVID and renew our economy.”

PETER A. BAYNES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NYS CONFERENCE OF MAYORS

New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association President Allan Gandelman

“We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for once again making adult use cannabis legalization a priority and we look forward to working with his team and the Legislature to get this done quickly. There is no more time to wait as we have watched other states around the nation, and now our neighbors, legalize adult use cannabis. We must embrace this historic moment to legalize cannabis in a way that brings new opportunities for communities across the state and acts as a catalyst for economic revitalization. It is crucial that we work together to establish an equitable, diverse and sustainable cannabis marketplace that prioritizes New York farmers, small businesses and communities impacted by the war on drugs.”

NEW YORK CANNABIS GROWERS & PROCESSORS ASSOC. PRES. ALLAN GANDELMAN

Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, Interim Co-Executive Directors of the New York Immigration Coalition

“By committing to funding legal services for immigrant New Yorkers, the Governor is taking a crucial first step in ensuring equity in our judicial system in the face of President Trump’s continued legacy on immigration. But we need to go further to allow immigrants to thrive in New York State. Immigrants have been on the pandemic’s frontlines since its start and continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. It’s long past time for Albany to step up and ensure that every New Yorker has a chance at recovery. We applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of legal services funding to keep our families together. Still, we now need our leaders to implement a more ambitious plan that protects and empowers immigrants into the future.”

MURAD AWAWDEH AND ROVIKA RAJKISHUN, INTERIM CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF THE NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALITION

Greg Biryla, State Director of NFIB in New York

“New York’s hundreds of thousands of small business owners and the 4 million jobs they support are desperately waiting for relief and assurance from Albany. We hope to hear legitimate solutions to protect small businesses from potentially catastrophic unemployment insurance premium increases caused by COVID-related shutdowns.

“We expect what state resources are available to be repurposed for the businesses, industries, and regions negatively impacted most by COVID-19. And small businesses deserve a reasonable explanation for the state’s strategy to keep our “Main Streets” safe, open, and active from New York City to Niagara Falls.

“Our return to normalcy in a post-COVID world will never be fully realized if we don’t take every step available to save and support the local businesses that define and invigorate every New York neighborhood and community.”

GREG BIRYLA, STATE DIRECTOR OF NFIB IN NEW YORK

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