Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday focused on providing reprieves for struggling New Yorkers in the current economic climate, while tackling an ambitious social agenda of criminal justice and education reforms, the New York Times reports.
Judging from the applause, audience support for his plan seemed to deepen as he began addressing problems not so easily solved with money, including the erosion of confidence in the criminal justice system, public schools and teachers that he said were failing students, poverty, homelessness and a creeping sense that economic mobility is not what it once was– pointing out that, although these same problems existed nationwide, New York must take the lead in addressing them.
In his 84-minute speech, Cuomo proposed giving district attorneys the latitude to release information about a grand jury’s thinking when it declines to hand down an indictment of a police officer investigated over a fatality “so people can know what actually happened,” the governor said.
However, he vowed to beef up protections for police officers with bulletproof vests, protective windows on patrol cars and body cameras, as well as reinforced a commitment to restoring trust and respect between the police and the community.
He reiterated his call to raise the minimum wage from $8.75 to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 in the rest of the state.
Cuomo also proposed raising the limit on the number of charter schools allowed in the state to 560, from 460, and increasing the amount of funding those schools receive.
Over all, the governor’s spending plan totals $150 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with the current year.