Skoufis on Kochul’s state of the state: ‘Thematically on-point but very light on details’

| 13 Jan 2023 | 12:08

    State Sen. James Skoufis offered the following reaction to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State message:

    The Governor’s second State of the State address was thematically on-point but very light on details. I look forward to reading through her budget proposals.

    For my constituents, and New Yorkers everywhere, a state that really works is one where they can afford to raise their families and where they feel safe. Over the past three years, they’ve been through hell and back, and their government has a moral obligation to right the ship on public safety and affordability.

    I was heartened to hear a renewed call from the Governor that improvements to bail reform can and should be made, including expanding judicial discretion to ensure dangerous defendants are kept off the street. It’s something I’ve been fighting for alongside our local partners in law enforcement since these controversial laws passed in 2019. I was also delighted to hear the Governor’s nod to my legislation signed into law last summer that strengthens red flag laws, or the use of Extreme Risk Protection Orders, to keep guns out of dangerous hands, and her proposed expansion of state police ranks. As someone who directed over $2.3 million in grant funding to our first responders last year, including local police departments, I know this support is urgently needed.

    The Governor also highlighted the need for affordability – something my taxed-to-death Orange County constituents know all too well. I’m opposed to any new taxes on the middle-class and look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposals on housing affordability. In particular, I will be closely examining any efforts to force local zoning changes upon Hudson Valley communities, a deeply concerning concept that we defeated in last year’s budget.

    From the full rollout of truly universal pre-kindergarten and support for our childcare providers, to advancing the legislative solutions recommended in our Senate Investigative Report on utility pricing, to always fighting to protect the interests of my Orange County constituents, I look forward to working with my partners in government as budget negotiations get underway.