Gov. Hochul Says she will Provide Safety, Affordable Housing, and Correspond Minimum Wage with Inflation
By Yehudit Garmaise
With crime as New Yorkers’ top concern, during her annual State of the State address in Albany today, Gov. Hochul outlined her plans that she said will make New York safer, more affordable, and more livable in 2023.
Among her efforts to create more public safety, the governor pointed to how she has “strengthened our gun violence prevention laws,” banned ghost guns, promoted tougher prosecutions for gun crimes and gun trafficking, and put more “cops on the subways.”
“Our efforts are starting to work,” said the governor, who cited “a double-digit decrease in both homicides and shootings last year.”
Gov. Hochul supported the original idea of bail reform, which was to ensure that suspects without access to funds are not disproportionately held in jail because they could not come up with bail money.
“The size of someone's bank account should not determine whether they sit in jail, or return home, before they have even been convicted of a crime,” the governor said. “That was the goal of bail reform. It was a righteous one, and I stand by it.
“Changing our bail laws will not automatically bring down crime rates.”
Although many New Yorkers feel otherwise, Gov. Hochul claimed that “bail reform is not the primary driver of a national crime wave created by a convergence of factors: including the pandemic.”
Addressing her “partners in the legislature,” Gov. Hochul said, “let's start with this shared understanding and have a thoughtful conversation during the budget process about improvements we can make to the [bail reform] law.
To staunch the record numbers of New Yorkers leaving the state because of its high cost of living, the governor also listed the “record investments we are making in education, housing, and mental health.”
Over the last ten years, New York has created 1.2 million jobs, but only 400,000 new homes, said the governor, who added that New Yorkers will continue to leave the state without more affordable housing.
“If things get bad enough, people will search for opportunities elsewhere, where there is less struggle,” said the governor, who passed a budget last year that included a five-year $25 billion plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes.
To further “tackle the affordability crisis head-on,” the governor also proposed a new plan to correspond the state’s minimum wage to inflation.
“If costs go up, so will the wages,” proposed the governor. “Like other states that have implemented this policy, we will put guardrails in place to make increases predictable for employers and create flexibility in the event of a recession.
“Our families deserve this.”
photo credit: Flickr