In response to Governor Hochul’s State of the State address and policy book, Empire Center experts issued the following reactions:

TAXES & AFFORDABILITY, Tim Hoefer, CEO

“Governor Hochul deserves praise for calling out ‘the politicians who want to raise your taxes.’ Taxes are a central part of New York’s affordability challenge and state officials need to get serious about rightsizing our spending levels so we can bring our tax burden in line with the rest of the country. Confronting the contingent in state government that wants to tax for the sake of taxing is a good first step.”

“The governor mentions affordability more than 60 times in her policy book, but unfortunately, most of the solutions involve shifting costs rather than reducing them.”

ENERGY, Ken Girardin, Research Director

“The governor’s proposal to curb natural gas hookups will result in more people burning heating oil, which produces more greenhouse gases and pollutants. The anti-pipeline zealotry has literally arrived on people’s front yards.”

HEALTH CARE, Bill Hammond, Senior Fellow

“Almost four years after New Yorkers suffered the devastating consequences of a major pandemic, it’s stunning that the governor’s public health agenda makes no mention of hardening the state’s defenses against novel viruses.”

“The governor’s focus on the affordability of health coverage is welcome but misplaced. Her proposals target the Essential Plan (which is all but free) and Obamacare plans (which are heavily subsidized), while doing nothing to lower the state’s highest-in-the-nation premiums for employer-sponsored health benefits.”

“The state’s health care labor force as a whole has fully rebounded from its losses during the pandemic and grown to an all-time high of 1.3 million workers. While some provider types and regions are experiencing real shortages, there is no evidence that the industry faces a labor crisis warranting further intervention from the state.”

“It’s encouraging that Governor Hochul has renewed her push to streamline professional licensing and certificate-of-need regulations, which would expand consumer choice while making health care more affordable and accessible for New Yorkers. Whether she can overcome the opposition of entrenched interests remains to be seen.”

STATE WORKFORCE, Ken Girardin, Research Director

“Eliminating outdated college degree requirements and embracing artificial intelligence has the potential to produce savings and efficiencies at state agencies. On the other hand, forcing state employees into ‘anti-racism’ training probably doesn’t.”

JUDICIAL REFORM, Cam Macdonald, Adjunct Fellow

“Eliminating the cap on Supreme Court justices by constitutional amendment addresses just one of the problems identified with New York’s antiquated court system. There’s broad support for reform. The Legislature should re-visit a comprehensive plan to simplify the Empire State’s courts this session.

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