ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, responded to Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first section of his State of the State address on Monday. He said that it looks like the governor took some of the Republican-led ‘Reset New York Agenda’ to heart.
The Senate GOP plans to be a voice for local economies, taxpayers, job creators, workers and communities, and to work against what the senator views as a devastating move toward an even more high-taxing, out-of-control spending approach to state government.
The Governor spoke on reopening New York before everyone in the state is vaccinated, something Ortt said republicans introduced last week, and have been saying for months.
Ortt said that they will have to see how some of the economic plans outlined by the Governor would work as he said Cuomo did not provide a lot of detail.
Ortt said Cuomo mentioning gun violence on the rise and having safe communities to go back to is important but criticized the Governor for not mentioning that the rise in violence is linked to rhetoric of policies coming out of the State Capitol for the past two years. He is referencing the bail reform enacted in New York recently.
While answering questions, Ortt said he would like the Governor to make sure that men and women in law enforcement have the resources, including mental health training, they need to do their job safely.
Ortt said the Senate GOP is also passionate about accessible and affordable broadband which Cuomo also mentioned on Monday. Ortt went on to say he would have to see what the Governor actually does referencing the broadband initiative from the past few years. Ortt said even though many tout that program as a success he still is receiving complaints from many New Yorkers that they still do not have any access to broadband. Something that is also included in the Reset New York agenda.
Ortt also explored the budget and the shortfall created by the pandemic. He said while Cuomo is hopeful for more federal aid, Ortt isn’t sure when that might arrive. Even with a new administration in Washington, there will still be processes to go through before New York could see any money from Washington. He said lawmakers may have to make a “tough decision”.
Ortt also brought up the fact that even before the pandemic there was a $6B deficit and there is still work to fix that regardless of the revenue shortfall created by the pandemic.
Ortt called the current vaccine distribution plan underwhelming and is looking for the Governor to expand on his plan to improve the rollout of the vaccine. He spoke on issues with the state website and being able to access information, he compared it to the issues the Department of Labor had at the beginning of the pandemic.
Governor Cuomo gave an overview of his legislative plans for the state and will go into specific issues on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
The governor has already previewed some of the topics on the agenda, including:
- New York’s coronavirus response
- Pandemic budget shortfalls
- Legalizing cannabis
- Commercial and private evictions
- Sports betting
- Utility disconnections during emergencies
- Greater access to SUNY and CUNY resources for nurses
- Modernize the office of professional medical conduct
- Telehealth access
- Election reform
- Domestic violence and gender-based violence
- Pedestrian access to Moynihan Train Hall
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