North Country politicians sound off following Gov. Hochul's State of State address
State and federal officials sounded off following Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023 State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Hochul called for greater state spending in energy affordability and education and is pushing for a ban on non-electric heat sources in new homes. The governor also announced a state economic boost to farmers and other initiatives.Responses were tepid at best, with many pointing to a mass exodus of people leaving the state, and others critical of rising crime and high taxes.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who represents St. Lawrence County residents in Washington, was characteristically critical of Hochul’s address.
“New York State has suffered because of failed one-party Democrat rule in Albany under the leadership of Corrupt Kathy Hochul. Today, Hochul continued to shred our Constitution as she touted her unconstitutional gun ban even after the United States Supreme Court struck down her illegal gun grab,” Stefanik said.
“Even though public safety is the number one concern of New Yorkers, she chose to attack our Second Amendment rights, instead of ending failed bail reform that releases violent criminals back on our streets,” said the Congresswoman.
“As she doubled down on failed Far Left policies from Albany that have hurt our small businesses and Green New Deal policies that prioritize big cities over the needs of rural communities in Upstate New York, it is obvious that failed Far Left single party Democrat rule is why New York is experiencing the largest population exodus than any other state. New Yorkers deserve a new direction. I am working tirelessly in the new Republican majority in Congress to provide a critical check on these failed policies, restore the Constitutional Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers, support our law enforcement to restore public safety, implement pro-growth economic policies, and shine a light on the corruption in Albany,” said Stefanik.
Senator Dan Stec (R,C-Queensbury), who represents a large swath of St. Lawrence County in the State Senate said Hochul “missed the mark.”
“In her State of the State address, Governor Hochul rightfully acknowledged many of the issues New Yorkers care about, namely public safety, affordable housing and the opioid and mental health epidemics. But overall, her overarching plan to address these topics and also get our state’s economy trending in the right direction ultimately miss the mark,” Stec said.
“While the governor acknowledged that bail reform must be addressed, her proposal failed to both address changing which crimes are bail-eligible and restoring judicial discretion. Expanding affordable housing is a top priority in communities across our state. The governor simply mandating an expansion of affordable housing treats the symptom of the issue and not the cause, which are the high price of regulation, construction, energy and labor. These are the biggest drivers in housing costs and the major impediments in expanding affordable housing,” he said.
“Affordability did not receive the full attention it deserves. The governor’s plan to increase minimum wage and index it to inflation will simply drive up prices on residents and businesses at a time when we currently face economic uncertainty and an escalating cost of living. We’ve seen an exodus of New Yorkers over the past several years, and failure to address the affordability issue will only allow this trend to continue,” continued the State Senator.
“These are just some of the issues that stand out at first glance of the governor’s 277-page agenda. In the days ahead, I’ll be digging deeper into the particulars of the governor’s plans and hearing her upcoming Executive Budget proposal. I look forward to working with the governor and my legislative colleagues to achieve common ground where possible and speaking out on the proposals that I believe will have a negative impact on our communities,” said Stec.
Assemblyman Scott Gray (R,Watertown) congratulated Hochul on her election to governor, but pointed to crime, high gas prices and high taxes as areas that need to be addressed.
“I again want to congratulate Gov. Hochul for her historic election as New York’s first female governor. With that said, her speech today to the state Legislature was a good first step in recognizing the state’s most pressing issues—crime, housing, out-migration and the rising cost of living. However, more work needs to be done on these issues,” Gray said.
“Crime continues to plague our communities. As our status as the highest-taxed state in the nation also continues, the rising cost of groceries and high gas prices are forcing North Country residents to make difficult decisions. We need to address these issues, along with job opportunities and education, to stem the mass exodus of our residents. I appreciated her comments on mental health and look forward to working with her and my legislative colleagues in improving mental health services across our state,” the Assemblyman said.
“I came to Albany to find solutions to the challenges facing northern New Yorkers, and I will work with anyone, on either side of the aisle, to accomplish that. We must reverse course, and now the real work begins. We must find solutions to our challenges, and from today forward, we need more details on the initiatives put forward by the governor in her State of the State address,” said Gray.
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher, who owns a farm in Madrid, said a minimum wage boost pushed by Hochul would hurt local farmers.
“Gov. Hochul’s State of the State recognizes some of the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture, and her proposals to expand markets and tax credits are much appreciated. This includes a plan to make the investment tax credit refundable and increase state procurement of New York farm products,” Fisher said.
“We also support efforts to expand urban agriculture in the state and shore up our workforce through job training and increased manufacturing. However, labor costs continue to rise, putting increased pressure on our farms' sustainability. New York Farm Bureau is concerned that a plan to boost the minimum wage will exacerbate that problem and further push up inflationary costs,” said Fisher.
“Our farms depend on a strong economy, investment in critical agricultural programs, and reasonable regulations. New York Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the governor to build on today’s agenda and improve our agricultural and food system that benefits all New Yorkers,” said the Farm Bureau president.