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Lieutenant Governor Hochul Says Democratic-Controlled Legislature's First Week Pace is Just Right

John Smith/WAER News

The Democratic-controlled State Legislature has passed a number of legislative items this week that are viewed as more progressive and now it has Republicans saying… not so fast. 

However, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul who presides over the Senate says the pacing is just right.

“Constituencies, advocates, citizens have been clamoring for voting reforms, opening up the ballot box, which we just accomplished, members of the LGBT community have been waiting too long.  We took care of those issues this week.  And now to make sure that women’s rights are protected; reproductive health is protected in New York State law.  Any one of these individuals, if you asked if we’ve been moving too fast, they would say we’ve been moving far too slowly all this time and it’s about time we do something.” 

Hochul thinks there's a good chance the Reproductive Health Act could be passed next week.  As we told you yesterday, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Joe Griffo of Rome expressed that Governor Cuomo’s budget contains too much policy that will lead to a sizeable deficit.  However, Hochul says the Cuomo Administration’s budget is fiscally responsible year after year   

 “We actually reduced our deficit from what it had been last year and there is nobody more fiscally responsible than Governor Andrew Cuomo, an individual who inherited 10 billion dollars worth of deficits and has made sure that we run state government within our means.  We’ve had our own cap on our state spending down to 2 percent and the agencies, even lower.”

Credit John Smith/WAER News
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Large scale projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge and the MTA have drawn criticism that infrastructure funds go entirely downstate.

“We’ve allocated 2.5 billion dollars for water infrastructure projects and I guarantee you that some of that money will be directed to Central New York.”

The City of Syracuse faces and outdated infrastructure and deals with frequent water main breaks.  We caught up with the Lieutenant Governor after she outlined the Governor’s Budget address today at Onondaga Community College.  She says for those who are current students or deciding on what college to apply to, the state remains invested in them.

Credit John Smith/WAER News
An audience listens to Hochul's address in the Coulter Library Community Room at OCC>

“I think the students here should be very greatful and happy that they still live in a state which has the only tuition free program for public education.  If they haven’t taken advantage of this; they need to do this right away.  The Excelsior Program which has reduced the cost and the burden of an education in our public institutions and students in here in Central New York absolutely benefit from that... literally thousands of individuals are already doing that.”

Credit John Smith / WAER News / 88.3 FM WAER News
88.3 FM WAER News
A sleek lines view of a hallway that leads to Coulter Library.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.