In a rare move, Governor Andrew Cuomo held a public event two days before his annual State of the State address to discuss a tax cut plan. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
In his re-election year, Governor Andrew Cuomo opted to break his self-imposed rule of staying silent in the lead-up to his State of the State address, and opted instead to give the public a sneak preview.
"This year's State of the State has a large number of big policy program initiatives, each one complicated in and of itself," Cuomo said. "Almost too much to put in one speech."
The governor announced that he would be pushing for tax cuts with a projected $2 billion budget surplus. That would include property taxes for homeowners and corporate tax cuts for businesses.
"The business climate is exceedingly important in the state of New York," Cuomo said. "Business is the engine that pulls the train. It's all about jobs. Jobs provide opportunity for people."
The governor is also expected to announce the implementation of a limited medical marijuana program. However, instead of passing a bill through the legislature, he is expected to invoke a 1980 law that allows him to make the change administratively through his state's Health Department.
The change would allow distribution of medical marijuana at 20 hospitals throughout the state to patients with severe illnesses. Since the marijuana cannot be legally grown here, it would have to come either from evidence seized by law enforcement officials, which raises purity issues, or from the federal government.
"There are a lot of limitations to this interim step," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan. "I'm glad the governor is doing it, but he should join us in working to enact really comprehensive legislation."
There is still opposition to legalizing medical marijuana in the state legislature.
"It's still, I think, very difficult, medical marijuana, if it's not done correctly, and I don't believe medical marijuana is the cure all or the silver bullet here," said state Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn.
The expected announcement from Cuomo represents a reversal of his position from just last year.
On April 16, 2013, Cuomo said, "I do not support medical marijuana. I understand the pros and cons. I understand the argument. We are looking at it, but at this point, I don't support medical marijuana."
The State of the State speech is Wednesday afternoon in Albany.
Web Extra: Watch the full press conference
TWC News: Cuomo Unveils Tax Cut Plan Early, Says Pre-K Talks Still Premature
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