ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – New York State Governor Kathy Hochul held her first State of the State address Wednesday afternoon. She announced her 2022 agenda regarding state-wide issues.
Gov. Hochul said she feels continued progress towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic will help combat other long-term issues across New York State. She first plans to address the ongoing health crisis by kicking off a 5-year initiative to grow New York’s healthcare workforce by 20 percent. The plan entails a record $10 billion investment, with additional $3,000 bonuses for full-time workers employed for at least a year. Two billion dollars will also be invested towards healthcare worker wages; with pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours.
“The health of every New Yorker depends on a strong, stable, and equitable healthcare system,” Hochul said. “These workers are its very foundation. Bold action is required before any time passes.”
Small businesses were devastated last year by the pandemic. Governor Hochul plans to help local employers with $100 million in tax relief. Benefits are projected to reach roughly 200,000 small businesses state-wide.
“These businesses are the economic engines of small towns and big cities alike,” Hochul said. “They are what make our communities unique and give them personality.”
Education is another issue state-wide. Hochul used economic struggles from New Yorkers to justify needed aid for higher education. On average, the amount of student debt amassed by a person entering the healthcare industry is $72.800, discouraging many Americans to enter the field. Hochul says New York will plan to offer free tuition and stipends to help more medical professionals stay in-state.
“We’ll expand the capacity of our medical institutions so more students can train for high-demand health care jobs,” Hochul said “A once in a lifetime pandemic demands a once in a lifetime response.”