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New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State Address in the State Capitol Assembly Hall on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, in Albany, NY (AP Photo / Hans Pennink, Pool)

ALBANY – New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first state-of-state address on Wednesday, outlining an agenda for an economic return from the coronavirus pandemic and new government investments in the healthcare sector , housing and renewable energies.

Hochul, the state’s first female governor, proposes a $ 10 billion plan to increase the state’s health workforce by 20% over the next five years, saying the pandemic has exacerbated personnel problems that have been smoldering for a long time.

This includes more than $ 4 billion to support the salaries and bonuses of workers in a healthcare sector that currently suffers from high burnout rates, and $ 2 billion to improve healthcare infrastructure. health.

Hochul, who became governor when Andrew Cuomo resigned in August, delivered the speech to a small and socially distant audience in the Assembly Hall of the New York State Capitol in Albany amid the worst wave of coronavirus infections since the virus first struck the state in the spring of 2020.

“We will fight like hell, not for the land, not for the credit, but for the New Yorkers”, Hochul said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was absent and in quarantine following a pair of rapid tests indicating he may have COVID-19.

More than 10,400 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide on Monday: a 69% increase from the previous Monday. Hochul said his administration “Laser focus” keeps children in schools and businesses open.

The Democrat also announced initiatives, including a proposal to invest $ 1 billion in the deployment of electric vehicles in the coming years and up to $ 500 million in offshore wind port infrastructure to meet the demands of a Radical state law calling for 70% electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Such projects will supply a third of New York City with wind, solar and hydroelectric power, Hochul said.

She urged voters in November to approve a now $ 4 billion bond law funding environmental projects, including climate change mitigation.

It is also offering $ 2 billion for road and bridge repairs, with a focus on replacing structures vulnerable to flooding.

To help ease the economic pain of the pandemic, Hochul wants to accelerate the planned implementation of $ 1.2 billion in tax cuts for the middle class that began in 2018. She also wants $ 1 billion in rebates. property tax for more than two million middle and low. – income earners.

Hochul has offered nearly $ 1 billion in financing for tax credits, start-up financing, and low-interest loans for small businesses. It wants to increase subsidies and access to broadband by mobilizing $ 1 billion in public and private investments.

And with the New York evictions moratorium expiring in mid-January, Hochul wants to offer free legal assistance to residents of upstate New York. She said the state could help prevent homelessness with a five-year, $ 5 billion plan to build 100,000 affordable homes in urban and rural areas.

Hochul, candidate for governor this year, has pledged to restore confidence in state government.

She wants to replace the state’s ethics enforcement agency, which recently fought with Cuomo over the millions of dollars he earned writing a book during his tenure, and subdue some elected officials from the The state, including the governor, has a two-term limit for their service and a ban on most outside income.

Other initiatives include the provision of the state tuition assistance program for part-time students and a Jails to Jobs initiative to help incarcerated people find and stay employed.

New York should address the rise in gun violence by increasing funding for community-based prevention programs and gun tracing efforts with neighboring states, she said.

Hochul is expected to release his own one-year budget proposal later this month. Lawmakers are to pass a state budget by April.

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