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Legislature Chairwoman Shawna Black’s Statement on Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2023 New York State of the State Address

Tompkins County welcomes transformative policy changes and financial investments to address our most pressing challenges -- Governor Hochul’s 2023 State of the State address outlined a vision for a safer and more affordable New York that would have many positive impacts on our community.

Tompkins County looks forward to seeing progress in 2023 in the areas of mental health care, housing affordability, addressing climate change, supporting emergency medical services, civil service reforms, sustainable increases to the State’s minimum wage, and supporting the safety of our communities, all of which and more were detailed in the Governor’s address.

I applaud the Governor’s focus on housing construction and affordability, in Tompkins County we’re experiencing a housing crunch, with a lack of affordability across the spectrum of housing options. Addressing high development costs, increasing the housing supply, incentivizing construction, and removing obstacles to development are welcome proposals. Recently in Tompkins County we’ve seen historic levels of development, but we must continue to advocate for affordability for renters and homeowners while we plan and build new housing stock.

The State of the State addressed our green future, with proposals on energy affordability for households, clean air and water, and waste reduction. Tompkins County is eager to see investments in cleaner natural resources, a more sustainable economy, and policies that better support households facing rising energy costs. Locally we’ve embarked on significant clean energy investments as a County organization, and we see the businesses and organizations helping to transform our County into a greener and more sustainable community.

I was glad to hear the Governor propose solutions to address the emergency medical services crisis that’s impacting New York. We’ve seen firsthand in Tompkins County what stresses on the EMS system do for response times and health care delivery. Policies and collaborations that support EMS providers are overdue, ensuring reimbursement, expanding access to different tools, and regional collaboration are all topics that we’ve heard loud and clear in our community. We’re working on local solutions and eager to partner with local municipalities and regional allies to help address this crisis.

As a rural community with a growing urban center, we have complex and growing needs. Tompkins County will watch for progress on the proposals outlined in the State of the State, engage with our state officials, and seek the funding and support to help make lasting positive change as we address these challenges.

Shawna Black
Chairwoman, Tompkins County Legislature