Legislative Caucuses Respond To State Of The State Address By Gov Hochul

January 9, 2024

Today, Governor Kathy Hochul shared her vision to propel New York State forward in her annual State of the State address. Last month, the Caucus.

Led by Chair Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Nassau), released its 2024 Budget Framework with the stated mission of “A Demand for Justice.” The People’s Budget calls on the state to lay out an equitable vision for progress that is centered on generational solutions and targets the racial and socioeconomic barriers that are leaving individuals behind. 

With the Governor’s support, it will be possible to make important investments in the state for housing. Despite the fact that up to 15,000 new housing units can provide shelter for New Yorkers in low income areas, the state will need to enforce fair housing laws to ensure that actual gains are being made in New York’s housing crisis. While the need for housing is an issue that only continues to grow, measures to protect residents from foreclosure and evictions must also be addressed for progress to truly be made.

“… expand access to resources and care …”

Additionally, members are heartened by the Governor’s focus on investing in mental health. The Caucus will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to expand access to resources and care, as well as build more beds for people who are in need. Between supportive housing, a commitment to helping New Yorker’s with disabilities, and increasing the number of psychiatric beds in hospitals, the Caucus is ready and willing to work closely with Governor Hochul to meet these ambitious goals. 

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Additionally, the body is supportive of the State’s proposal to provide continuous Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for youths between zero and six years old, as it is a necessity for investing in New York’s future. Streamlining the designation process for Children and Family Treatment and Support Services will provide access to critical mental health services for our youngest New Yorkers who need it.

One area where the Caucus is interested in further negotiating is changes to New York’s revenue-raising structure. For the state to fund our vital services, we must address the gross inequities allowing for wealthy individuals and corporations to not pay their fair share. To reach the vital childcare, housing, and climate goals presented in the State of the State, the Executive cannot leave out changes to the tax system. 

While there are critical omissions from the Executive’s speech, our membership is encouraged to see multiple common objectives that allow room for further collaboration between the Caucus and the Executive to advance the long-term prosperity of Black, Latino, and Asian populations.

“Overall, the Governor is taking important steps to help our state move forward. We look forward to continuing these conversations which are paramount to the needs of Black, Latino, and Asian New Yorkers as we make our way through the budget negotiation process. We are more than ready to meet the Governor’s goals with our partners in government to both represent and serve marginalized communities,” said Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. 

“…use public facilities for housing ….”

“Reflecting on the Governor’s state of the state address, I am heartened by the significant strides made, yet I believe we need to push for more. I am pleased with the Governor’s commitment to ending co-pays on insulin and making healthcare more affordable for everyday New Yorkers. Her plans to use public facilities for housing show a forward-thinking approach. Additionally, I applaud her dedication to expanding ways to identify mental health needs and utilizing all of our resources. However, I am disappointed by the lack of humane solutions for new asylum seekers and the inadequate immigration services, which I hope will ultimately be part of her budget announcement. The state needs to do more to effectively address the affordability crisis, even with its ambitious housing plan. Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that under her leadership, we can collaborate to tackle these critical issues and build a New York that truly works for everyone.” stated Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, 1st Vice Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. 

“I was pleasantly pleased with some of the things that I heard regarding efforts to combat domestic violence, the investments into mental health, and to battling the opioid addiction crisis that we are facing. We do need to look through the details of her proposals, but I am confident that we will make sure we keep delivering for New Yorkers.” said Senator Natlalia Fernandez, Caucus Secretary and Chair of the Senate alcoholism and Substance Use Disorders. 

“I am pleased with what I heard in the Governor’s State of the State. All of the policy issues she will address, including domestic violence, food and housing security. But, we also want to see the details of the Governor’s plans. These proposals sound like they will help move New York forward. I will work hard with my colleagues and the Governor to ensure that we bring all of the social services needed to fruition. It will not be easy but must be delivered on behalf of New Yorkers,” said Senator Roxanne Persaud, Chair of Senate Social Services Committee.

“… providing affordable safe housing for all New Yorkers …”

“What we heard today, at least the most important part to me, was truly housing. It’s one of the biggest priorities for the caucus, and we’re interested in working with the Governor in seeing what those final details are going to be to make sure we are providing affordable safe housing for all New Yorkers,” said Assemblymember Kenny Burgos.

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-eight-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate. www.bphacaucus.com

Photo credit: Caucus seeks to collaborate with Governor Hochul on shared budget priorities.

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