Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State Tuesday as an elected Governor of New York.
She pledged to expand the number of available beds in psychiatric treatment facilities, address public safety concerns, and tie the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
Hochul proposes a $1 billion investment in mental health that will include increasing the number of inpatient psychiatric treatment beds by 1,000, creating 3,500 units of housing for those with mental illness, increasing insurance coverage for mental health services, expanding outpatient services, and creating systemic accountability for hospital admissions and discharges to better address the needs of individuals suffering with mental illness.
Under public safety, Hochul plans to double funding for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination, or GIVE, program to $36 million. This will expand the use of evidence-based strategies – hot-spot policing, focused deterrence, crime prevention through environmental design, and street outreach – and result in the hiring of more than 150 police officers and prosecutors solely dedicated to combating gun violence within their communities.
She also said she will work with the State Legislature to clarify the State’s bail laws.
Hochul’s proposal for increasing the State’s minimum wage would be based on the growth in the year-over-year Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners (CPI-W) for the Northeast Region. To ensure that no single-year increase would threaten employment, annual increases would be capped. In addition, the proposal would also allow for an “off-ramp” in the event of certain economic or budget conditions.
Seventeen other states either currently tie their minimum wage to inflation or some other economic formula or are slated to do so, including three states which have minimum wages at or above $15 in 2023.
Hochul also introduced the New York Housing Compact’s plan to deal with housing shortages that will require all cities, towns, and villages to achieve new home creation targets on a three-year cycle. She said the proposals, if adopted by lawmakers, could spur the creation of 800,000 new homes over the next decade.
View Governor Hochul’s complete State of the State address here: