ALBANY – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared New York independent from the federal government’s policies, which he called un-American, as he announced an aggressive first 100 days agenda Monday.
Cuomo broke with tradition by not waiting for his state of the state address to set out his agenda. Cuomo announced the agenda in a speech hosted by the Roosevelt Institute.
“Let this agenda be New York’s Declaration of Independence. We declare independence from this federal government’s policies. We disconnect from the nationalism, and the racism, and the chaos, and the xenophobia, and the misogyny, and the discrimination, and the dissembling of this Washington administration,” Cuomo said.
“We proclaim our Federal Government’s policy not only regressive, not only repugnant to New York values, we declare it un-American. Let us pass this ambitious progressive agenda as New York’s restoration of true democracy, restoring fairness, progress and pride.”
Cuomo called for 20 actions he hopes to accomplish within the first three months of his term in office.
Among Cuomo’s goals is the legalization of recreational marijuana, a progressive tax system, repealing SALT tax deductions caps and combating firearms in another attempt to scale back already illegal school shootings by extending the waiting period to buy a gun.
Cuomo called for legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana to “end the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.”
Cuomo said the federal government prioritizes tax cuts for wealthy and corporate citizens. He vowed to maintain what he called “a just, progressive tax system that taxes its citizens based on their ability to pay.” He said New York will keep the state’s progressive income tax with a millionaire’s tax, while permanently capping regressive local property taxes at 2 percent.
In a related matter, Cuomo called for middle class tax cuts and an effort to repeal the federal cap on state and local taxes (SALT).
Cuomo said the federal government “and radical judges” tear away at the Affordable Health Care Act, he wants to codify the health exchange into law and pass a law to ensure pre-existing conditions continue to be covered by insurance companies regardless of what happens at the federal level.
Cuomo also wants to officially codify and protect abortion by passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act within the first 30 days of the new session.
Cuomo will push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment that would add sex as a protected class.
Cuomo, a long-time supporter of gun control, vowed to pass the Red Flag Law, ban bump stocks and extend the waiting period for purchasing a gun from three days to 10 days.
He also called for adding an additional $150 Billion for enhanced and safe infrastructure.
The MTA was a contentious issue during the election and has led to spates between the state and New York City. Cuomo said he will repair he MTA by passing congestion pricing and overhauling the outdated structure of the authority in order to build a reliable, state of the art mass transit system with a steady funding stream and a structure that supports operational excellence.
Cuomo also called for better management of education funds so that districts distribute money to schools based on need and fairness.
Cuomo also called for passing the Dream Act for illegal immigrants to ensure higher education for all people in New York.
“New York will be the most progressive state in the nation in moving to renewables and growing the new sustainable green economy,” Cuomo said. “The Green New Deal will make New York’s electricity 100% carbon neutral by 2040 and put the state on the path to eliminating its carbon footprint.”
Cuomo said he will fight to improve the state’s drinking water quality, saying the federal government has been slow to test and regulate chemicals and reduce pollution.
Claiming the federal government is seeking to disenfranchise voters, Cuomo promised to allow voting by mail, enacting early voting, instituting same day and automatic voter registration, synchronizing federal and state elections and make Election Day a State Holiday to ensure as many people as possible participate in the democratic process.
The Governor said he will reform rent regulations, including ending vacancy decontrol, repealing preferential rent and limiting capital improvement charges to protect affordable housing and respect tenants’ rights.
Cuomo will push to pass the Child Victims Act and protect LGBTQ rights by codifying the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into New York State law and end conversion therapy.