MI Scholars Respond to Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Address
"The governor's newly dark tone only mirrors New Yorkers' anxieties over crime, untreated mental illness, disorder, and costs. The governor's focus on both more aggressive prosecution of repeat offenders, both violent and non-violent, as well as results-based treatment of the violently mentally ill, is welcome, although it is not clear that the concrete proposals she suggested, such as more financial resources for DAs, can overcome existing impediments, including the 2019-era changes to discovery laws that hamper prosecution.”
—Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a columnist at the New York Post.
“Governor Hochul's proposals on reforming the way reading is taught in the state's public schools are necessary and welcome. However, the governor should also be emphasizing two issues critical to the state (and nation's) largest school system, New York City: the renewal of mayoral control of the school system without further tinkering from the legislature and the removal of the unconscionable cap on the number of charter schools that continues to thwart the wishes of families for better public schools.”
—Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute.
“In December, a Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 85 percent of New York City voters are concerned that the city will be unable to accommodate the nearly 70,000 migrants currently living in city-sponsored shelters. Astonishingly, neither Governor Hochul’s State of the State speech nor her 180-page policy book addresses the issue. As New York nears the two-year mark of the migrant crisis, the governor is missing an opportunity to lead her state out of it. She could have, for example, urged the assembled lawmakers to preempt the city’s right to shelter. In its place, state legislation could provide a commonsense set of statewide requirements to shelter highly vulnerable populations, such as those with severe mental-health or substance-abuse issues, and those in danger of domestic violence and human trafficking—but not economic migrants.”
—John Ketcham is a fellow and director of cities at the Manhattan Institute.
“Faced with a recalcitrant legislature that is adamantly uninterested in playing a constructive role in solving the housing supply crisis in New York City and its suburbs, Governor Hochul announced a limited housing-related legislative agenda. Her most important priority is to finally reinstate some version of Section 421a, the tax incentive program that expired in 2022. The 421a tax break compensates developers for what would otherwise be the over-taxation of new rental housing, and also subsidizes housing offered at below-market rents. It's not clear the legislature wants to reinstate it, particularly without demanding in return expanded statewide rent controls, characterized as ‘good cause eviction,’ that would exacerbate the housing crisis more than Section 421a reinstatement would help alleviate it.
“Hochul also proposes lifting the state's statutory cap on the size of residential buildings, creating a tax incentive for including below-market units in residentially converted, formerly commercial buildings, and providing amnesty for basement units otherwise created in violation of state law. All these changes are sought by the city, but other changes the city wants are left out. Finally, Hochul proposes legislation prohibiting insurers from increasing premiums on residential buildings that contain affordable housing. That may sound fair but if such buildings are in fact riskier to insurers, that could shift costs to other properties equally burdened by rising premiums.”
—Eric Kober is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and former director of housing, economic and infrastructure planning at the New York City Department of City Planning.
“While it is encouraging to see Governor Hochul offer proposals that reflect a recognition of the real declines in public safety and order experienced throughout the state since 2019, New Yorkers should remain troubled by what wasn’t mentioned: (1) anything indicating a serious reconsideration of the major reforms to bail, discovery, parole, and probation that continue to hamper the ability of police and prosecutors to provide for the public’s safety; and (2) any proposals to deal more harshly with those who participate in the increasingly regular street ‘protests’ that involve shutting down and disrupting the flow of vehicle and foot traffic on bridges, streets, and tunnels, as well as in major transit hubs.”
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