Simotas Statement on 2014 State of the State Address

January 8, 2014

Albany, N.Y. – Today, Governor Cuomo laid out a forward-thinking and thoughtful vision for New York State in 2014, and I am eager to work toward achieving these goals. Growing our economy, improving our children’s education, and ensuring equality and fairness for all New Yorkers are critically important issues that we must tackle to ensure a better future for New York.

As our economy continues to grow, the proposed tax relief measures will benefit many who are still recovering from the downturn. The income tax rebate for New York City renters is a smart, common-sense idea that provides relief to an often-ignored group. We must also ensure that middle class homeowners in New York City are not left behind.

Our economic recovery permits us to rededicate ourselves to providing our children with the best education possible from pre-kindergarten through college so that they can be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century economy. Universal, full day, pre-kindergarten gives our kids the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.

It is also essential that we pass the full Women’s Equality Agenda. Last year, New York’s women were asked once again to relinquish a cherished goal, ignoring the lynchpin of real equality in the interest of “getting something done.” I was proud to stand with my colleagues to fight for full equality, rather than giving in to watered-down half-measures, and I will continue to stand in support of passing the entire comprehensive agenda.

Governor Cuomo’s plan for medical marijuana is an important first step in working to ensure the widest variety of care available for patients with severe or debilitating conditions. New York must lead the way in securing a tightly regulated and model framework to make sure that those who need it most have every treatment option available; it is only humane to do our best to ease these patients’ suffering.

The Governor’s goal to reduce the tax burden on state residents and property owners, commitment to universal pre-K, and continued focus on equality are laudable points of departure for the 2014 legislative session, and I look forward to working together to tackle these issues in the year to come.