Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked a lot about destiny and hope, tempests and superstorms in his 10th State of the State Address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday. He also called for unity and equality in New York state in 2020.
It’s what he didn’t mention that caught our ears, though, namely a $6.1 billion budget deficit looming on the horizon. Despite this, the governor proposed cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses.
Cuomo’s 2020 agenda touched on everything from legalizing recreational marijuana, expanding women’s rights and addressing homelessness. But his main point, that opened and closed his address, was the rise in hate crimes the state has seen over the years, particularly the number of anti-Semitic attacks downstate over the past few weeks.
Throughout the rest of his address, Cuomo highlighted many proposals he has slowly been unveiling recently, including a ban on Styrofoam, ending the “pink tax,” a ban on fentanyl, widening access to medical-assisted treatment of opioid addicts and pushing for tougher sexual assault laws.
His economic plan includes tax cuts for small business from 6.4% to 4%, and middle class families from 6.85% to 6.09% for families earning between $40,000 and $150,000. The current middle-class family tax cut applied to families earning up to $125,000.
One significant carryover from last year is legalization of recreational marijuana for the new decade. Cuomo said communities of color have for too long been disproportionately impacted by the drug’s criminalization.
Tax cuts, unity, equality, the opioid crisis, legalization of recreational marijuana, women’s rights and combating homelessness are all fine goals for 2020. Now, all the governor has to tell us is how he will pay for all of this in the shadow of a multi-billion dollar deficit.