ALBANY, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his agenda on January 8 for the year of 2020, and—like last year—it included a goal of legalizing recreational …
ALBANY, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his agenda on January 8 for the year of 2020, and—like last year—it included a goal of legalizing recreational marijuana.
Cuomo said part of the reason it should be done was because, “For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws.”
Cuomo has met with officials from New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania to try to create a regional approach to legalization.
Last year, the push for reform failed as lawmakers failed to reach consensus on a number of issues.
Combat climate change
Cuomo said he would create a $3 billion bond act to invest in environmental restoration. A press release from Cuomo’s office said, “This year, Gov. Cuomo will launch Restore Mother Nature—the nation’s most aggressive program for habitat restoration and flood reduction, funded in part by a $3 billion environmental bond act.”
Also in addressing climate change, Cuomo proposed building on the banning of single-use plastic bags, which takes effect on March 1, by also banning single use and packaging Styrofoam products to take effect in January 1, 2022.
Promoting electric vehicles
Gov. Cuomo proposed convening an electric vehicle (EV) technology task force led by Binghamton University’s Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham—who was awarded a 2019 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for his work on lithium ion batteries—and co-chaired by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to identify research and development opportunities and expand transportation innovation across New York State.
Cuomo will also require five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities—which currently operate 1,400 transit busses—to electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.
His plan includes the construction of at least 800 new high-speed charging stations to be installed over the next five years.
Promoting renewable energy
Cuomo said NYSERDA will make competitive awards to 21 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York, totaling over 1,000 megawatts of renewable capacity and 40 megawatts of energy storage capacity. Taken together, according to the governor, these efforts will spur over $2.5 billion in private sector investments toward the development, construction and operation of clean energy projects, create over 2,000 short-term and long-term jobs and generate enough renewable electricity annually to power over 350,000 homes.
Cuomo said the state will also put together a plan for authorizing and building new transmission capacity to bring clean and renewable power to areas that need additional electricity capacity, prioritizing using existing rights of way. The plan will include upgrading the grid with smart new technology that increases the capacity and effectiveness of the system, such as battery storage technology.
Pushing for state & local tax deductions
Cuomo said he will fight for the full deductibility of state and local taxes. Cuomo said he fought the federal tax bill every step of the way while it was under consideration in Congress. He said Washington’s drastic curtailment of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction was a financial attack on New Yorkers. New York passed the first property tax cap in history and Cuomo said the Trump administration raised New Yorkers’ taxes to send more money to their politically favored states. “We will continue to demand the unfair taxation stop, and that it stop now,” he said.