Governor Kathy Hochul has pledged to invest $10 billion in New York’s healthcare sector over the next five years in order to grow the workforce by 20%, she announced Wednesday as part of the State of the State Address.

More than $4 billion will go towards supporting wages and giving bonuses to healthcare workers, and the rest will go towards improving the career pipeline, expanding access to healthcare training and education, recruiting care workers to underserved areas and strengthening home care, Hochul said.

Full-time healthcare and mental hygiene workers can expect to get $3,000 bonuses if they remain in their position for one year as part of a $2 billion allocation, and another $2 billion will be spent on supporting healthcare wages. To help raise wages for human services workers, Hochul has allocated $500 million for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs).

Hochul said that the “largest ever investment in healthcare” would go towards retaining, rebuilding and growing the state’s healthcare workforce and ensuring it delivered the highest quality healthcare for New Yorkers.

“We must stop the current hemorrhaging of healthcare workers, and we need to not just say we owe them a debt of gratitude, but actually pay them the debt we owe. The health of every New Yorker depends on a strong, stable and equitable healthcare system, and healthcare workers are its very foundation,” she said.

As of June 2021, New York’s healthcare workforce was still 3% below pre-pandemic levels, and 11% below where it would need to be by the end of 2022 to keep up with pre-pandemic projected demand, Hochul said.

Hochul’s 2022 State of the State Address outlined her plan for New York through nine key components: rebuilding the healthcare economy; protecting public safety and addressing gun violence; investing in New Yorkers; investing in New York’s communities; making the state’s housing system more affordable, equitable, and stable; making New York a national leader in climate action and green jobs; rebuilding the teacher workforce and reimagining higher education; advancing New York’s place as a national equity model; and making critical reforms to restore faith in government.

“As the first woman to present a State of the State address in New York, I want to make it clear I am not just here to make history – I am here to make a difference,” Hochul said, adding the plan, dubbed a New Era for New York, would advance the state’s recovery and restore New Yorkers’ trust in government.

Governor Kathy Hochul. Photo: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

The plan also includes:

  • Three-Part Agenda to Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Violent Crime Throughout New York State
    • The initiative will invest in public safety and fund state and local policing gun safety efforts, create the Interstate Gun Tracing Consortium and triple investment in community-based gun violence response.
  • Tax Relief Efforts for Small Businesses and Middle-Class New Yorkers
    • The plan will accelerate the phase-in of $1.2 billion in middle class tax cuts for 6 million New Yorkers by two years – to 2023 – and establish a $1 billion property tax rebate program. It includes a tax rebate for 2 million New York families and increases existing tax credits, while creating new ones to support food production. It will also bring about $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses.
  • Strengthen New York’s Workforce and Grow the Economy
    • As part of this seven-pronged initiative the governor says she will create the Office of Workforce and Economic Development, increase pipelines between education and careers, expand access to apprenticeships, recruit the next generation of public servants, expand the state’s technology talent pipeline, make New York a model for the employment of workers with disabilities and protect and strengthen worker’s rights.
  • ‘Jails to Jobs,’ Initiative to Improve Re-Entry into the Workforce and Reduce Recidivism
    • Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals will be connected with education, resources, and opportunities for job placement, which will improve public safety and reduce recidivism.
  • New Expansion of Transit Service in Brooklyn and Queens: The Interborough Express
    • The Interborough Express would use the existing right of way of the Long Island Rail Road owned Bay Ridge Bridge to connect in Brooklyn and Queens to as many as 17 subway lines, expanding access to jobs and other destinations.
  • Billion Dollar Rescue Plan for Small Businesses and to Strengthen New York’s Economic Recovery
    • The billion dollar rescue plan will invest in the growth and retention of small businesses, small business tax credits for businesses that took on COVID-related expenses, seed funding to establish new businesses, provide flexible grants to early-stage small businesses, expand small business lending and help small businesses secure contracts. Hochul also plans to propose legislation to permanently allow the sale of to-go drinks in bars and restaurants.
  • $1 Billion ‘ConnectALL’ Initiative to Bring Affordable Broadband to More Than 1 Million New Yorkers
    • The $1 billion ConnectALL initiative will deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers and transform the state’s digital infrastructure through new investments.
  • Major Statewide Initiative to End the Homelessness Crisis and Address Longstanding Inequities in Housing
    • Initiatives to expand housing include utilizing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams of trained mental health practitioners that will assist in transitioning individuals living on the street into stable housing, ending the 421-a tax abatement and establishing a new program, improving housing access for renters with criminal records or negative credit history, creating an eviction prevention legal assistance program and creating a permanent disaster recovery and resiliency unit for home rebuilding.  
  • Address Housing Affordability Crisis in New York State 
    • A $25 billion 5-year housing plan will create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with support services for vulnerable populations. The plan will construct new housing and increase density in appropriate urban areas, including permitting accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods, kick-starting transit-oriented development, giving New York City the authority to encourage densification, and easing restrictions on converting hotels and offices to housing.
  • 2 Million Climate-Friendly Homes by 2030
    • The plan includes requiring zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027, providing the training programs necessary to ensure that the state has a skilled workforce to deliver these services, establishing a dedicated green electrification fund and electrifying low-income homes through the housing capital plan, among others.
  • $500 Million Investment in Offshore Wind
    • The plan for offshore wind will support more than 6,800 jobs, a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion statewide, and more than 4.3 gigawatts of energy, enough to power nearly 3 million homes in New York.
  • Invest in New York’s Students, Teachers and Schools
    • The plan will emphasize recruiting and retaining teachers throughout the state, and will accelerate the teacher certification process and increase funding for K-12 education. It also includes providing incentives to attract teachers and school workers, providing learning and mental health grants, creating a state teacher residency program, and upskilling teacher support workers to earn their certifications.
  • Increase Access to Childcare for 100,000 Families and Invest $75 Million in Wages for Childcare Workers
    • This plan would impact 100,000 families across New York by increasing eligibility from 200% of the federal poverty line to 225%. The Governor’s plan also includes a $75 million in better pay for childcare workers.
  • Revitalizing SUNY and Secure Its Place as a Globally Recognized Higher Education Institution
    • The plan includes making the institution a global leader on research and innovation, ensuring SUNY serves students well, and prioritizing equality within the SUNY system.
  • Equity Agenda to Promote Anti-Hate, Racial Equity, and Justice for All New Yorkers 
    • The Equity Agenda will advance a wide-ranging plan to promote and support gender equity, racial equity, anti-hate, social justice, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants and new arrivals, and veterans with the goal of protecting the health, safety, economic opportunities, and fundamental dignity of every New Yorker.
  • Propose Constitutional Amendment to Limit All Statewide Elected Officials to Two Terms and Ban Outside Income
    • Hochul plans to limit the roles of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller to two consecutive terms. The governor will also propose legislation to impose a ban on earned outside income for the same statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.
  • Replacing JCOPE with a New Independent Ethics Agency
    • Hochul plans to introduce legislation to repeal and replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with an ethics entity that is independent and transparent. This entity will be subject to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and the Open Meeting Laws, increasing and improving transparency. This plan will also ban outside communications so that members of the entity will be prohibited from participating in ex-parte communications regarding any potential or ongoing investigation.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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