Hochul Proposes Big Healthcare, Housing Plans

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced sweeping new programs involving healthcare, transportation, housing, climate change and more Wednesday in her first State of the State address.

At the top of her list was healthcare, with a plan to invest $10 billion in the sector, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers, and to build the workforce development pipeline.

Key elements of her healthcare plan:

    • $2 billion to support wages
    • $2 billion to support healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to full-time workers who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours
    • $500 million for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers
    • $2 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity
    • Other investments in workforce and healthcare access and delivery

State Sen. Jim Gaughran, D-Northport, said, “It was very refreshing, direct and she’s outlining big goals. I am anxious to see specifics. She wants to do significant tax relief which would help homeowners.

“I like the whole idea that she wants to put an emphasis on the healthcare system and certainly the aspect of stipends for healthcare workers, because these are people who have been saving us.”

Assemblyman Keith Brown, R-Northport, said, “During her State of the State address, Gov. Hochul made numerous commitments to improve our state’s infrastructure, health care system, economy and environment. I seriously hope she stands by those promises, but given the way she has handled these issues thus far, I am not sure. The answer to the health care worker shortage is not to bring in out-of-state nurses and doctors, what will is ending mandatory vaccination policies that are forcing our health care heroes to lose their jobs. For the sake of public safety and our economy, we must end bail reform and help our small businesses this legislative session. Our health care system and our economy cannot recover until the government stops imposing ill-advised mandate after ill-advised mandate.”

Joseph Moscola, executive vice president of enterprise services for Northwell Health, said, “Governor Hochul’s unveiling of a $10 billion multi-year investment in healthcare is such an incredible acknowledgement of the importance of New York’s health services and its providers.  As the largest healthcare system in New York State, Northwell Health appreciates how much this investment will help shape the future workforce by strengthening the career pipeline in science, research, and other STEM professions. This also aligns with our strategies to build a diverse workforce and create an inclusive environment that represents the diversity of the team members, patients, and communities we serve focused on health and wellbeing.”

Affordable Housing

  • Permit accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods: Hochul will propose legislation to require municipalities to allow a minimum of one ADU on owner-occupied residentially zoned lots. This legislation will allow for municipalities to set size requirements and safety standards for these dwellings. 
  • Transit-oriented development: Hochul will propose legislation to foster multifamily construction in zones drawn by municipalities around rail transit stops within commuting distance to New York City. 
  • Give New York City the authority to encourage densification and returning it to local authority. 
  • Ease restrictions on converting hotels and offices to housing
  • Hochul will also propose two pieces of legislation to “prevent discrimination on the basis of credit score or interactions with the criminal justice system.” One new law will prohibit residential landlords from automatically denying applicants with poor credit history, assuming the applicant can demonstrate recent financial security. The other will “eliminate a private landlord’s ability to automatically reject individuals with justice involvement and will require housing providers to conduct individualized assessments that account for the circumstances of a conviction and evidence of rehabilitation while still ensuring the safety and welfare of existing residents.”

Revitalize SUNY to make it the best statewide system of public higher education.

“My family’s life was changed because my father was able to afford a college education,” Hochul said. “New York must have a statewide world-class public university system that can change lives for the next generation of students. We must seize this moment to revitalize SUNY, lifting up students from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds while at the same time transforming the institution into a global, 21st century educational leader.”

Gun Violence and Violent Crime

The governor proposed a three-part plan to reduce gun crime and other violent crimes, with the goal of:

  • Invest in public safety and fund state and local policing gun safety efforts, including tripling the State Police’s gun violence intelligence resources  
  • Create the Interstate Gun Tracing Consortium
  • Triple Investment In Community-Based Gun Violence Response

She said that gun violence has increased throughout the nation and in New York, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, gun-involved homicides in New York increased by nearly 80 percent, tearing apart families and communities.

Ethics Commission

Create new ethics rules and limits, by:

  • Term Limits and Outside Income Ban: As the first proposal of the 2022 State of the State, Governor Hochul announced a plan to institute term limits and ban outside income for statewide elected officials.
  • Ethics Trainings: Hochul signed an Executive Order requiring all State employees to take an ethics training course upon hiring and regularly thereafter. 
  • FOIL Reforms: Hochul implemented reforms to the FOIL process to increase transparency with journalists and members of the public. The Governor also began requiring state agencies to identify and proactively post commonly requested data, to reduce the need for FOILs in the first place
  • Recusal Agreements: The governor and other senior members of her administration released the full recusal agreements they abide by. 
  • Transparency Plans: Hochul directed more than 70 executive agencies and public authorities to release public transparency plans, which are publicly posted online.
  • Combating Harassment and Discrimination: To improve the Executive Chamber’s response to accusations of harassment and discrimination, Hochul retained an independent outside law firm to investigate all claims in a fair, unbiased manner and created a new Human Resources department.

Tax Relief

Hochul proposed a plan to provide tax relief for small businesses and  middle class New Yorkers. The plan would provide $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses through increasing a tax return adjustment to reduce small businesses’ gross business income. The plan will also accelerate  $1.2 billion in New York’s existing middle class tax cut for 6 million New Yorkers which first began to be implemented in 2018, and establish a $1 billion property tax rebate program for more than 2 million New Yorkers.

Interborough Express

Hochul wants to move forward with the Interborough Express, which would connect communities in Brooklyn and Queens to as many as 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

2022StateoftheStateBook

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