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Cuomo’s Vision for 2021

A year ago, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s agenda for New York focused on stricter firearm laws, banning foam food containers and reining in rising Medicaid costs that had helped create a $6 billion budget gap. This year, the governor’s annual State of the State address revolved around how to remedy a public health crisis and reduce a record $15 billion deficit.

In his first of four presentations this week, the governor gave an overview of his seven-point plan. It included: curtailing the pandemic, vaccinating a majority of New Yorkers, alleviating the fiscal crisis, reopening the economy, sketching lasting recovery plans, shifting to green energy and addressing systemic injustice.

“We will win the Covid war. And we will learn and grow from the experience.”

Mr. Cuomo said during his speech.

[With New York in crisis, the governor focuses on finances and citizens’ health.]

“We must defeat Covid”

Amid a surging second wave, Mr. Cuomo plans to bolster every front against the coronavirus, from the production of medical supplies to the distribution of vaccine.

One of his vows includes incentivizing local businesses to manufacture essential products, rather than relying on companies overseas. Another is to create a state public health corps of 1,000 fellows and a program to train 100,000 citizens as health care emergency volunteers. Mr. Cuomo also plans to expand rapid-testing sites and telemedicine services across the state.

Managing the state’s economic crisis

This year, New York is projected to face the largest deficit in state history. To generate at least some new revenue, the governor aims to legalize recreational marijuana and mobile sports betting. He also emphasized that the state needs to increase economic activity now.

“The truth is we cannot stay closed until everyone is vaccinated,”

Mr. Cuomo said.

The governor also announced New Deal-style programs to invest in transportation and housing projects, and to create more jobs.

Reforming public safety

Mr. Cuomo said that counties will have to evaluate their police practices by April to receive state funding, a requirement he announced by executive order after last June’s protests.

“There are many new questions to answer. Does every 911 call require an armed police officer to respond? What role should mental health and domestic violence professionals play in public safety? What is the transparency and disciplinary policy? What is the use-of-force policy?”

Mr. Cuomo said.

The governor added that public safety is a greater priority for New York City, which has seen a stark rise in shootings.

“If the attractions of a city are reduced and crime is increased, urban decline is inevitable,”

Mr. Cuomo said.

New York needs the help of Washington

Mr. Cuomo made it clear that much of his plan will need help from the federal government. One of those goals is to vaccinate between 70 and 90 percent of all New Yorkers, which can only happen if Washington distributes more vaccine supplies to the state, he said.

“We only receive 300,000 doses per week. At this rate it will take us 14 weeks just to receive enough dosages for those currently eligible."

Mr. Cuomo said.

New York will also need a federal bailout and other friendly federal measures to alleviate the fiscal crisis caused by the pandemic, the governor said.

“This is a national challenge, it is a war. And like every war before, it must be financed by Washington.”

Mr. Cuomo said.

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