Cuomo addresses budget deficit, COVID plan in State of the State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers 2021 State of the State address. Photo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers 2021 State of the State address.

Updated: January 11, 2021 09:20 PM
Created: January 11, 2021 06:54 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his State of the State address Monday, with a few differences, and a long list of issues to address.

His address began at 11:30 a.m. Watch it in the player below.

Click here to watch if you're using a mobile device. 

Due to the pandemic, the address was done virtually, and because of the same pandemic, the state is facing a roughly $15 billion budget deficit over two years.

To help close that gap, Cuomo is proposing the legalization of both online sports betting, and recreational marijuana, both of which, could be taxed, which could help bring in revenue toward closing the deficit.

Cuomo outlined a seven-point plan for the state, which included defeating the coronavirus down to a green economy program, and addressing social injustice, among other topics.

But, it's not all deficit-related, as the governor will focus on legislation to expand and improve access to telehealth. Cuomo's office said the coronavirus pandemic showed that it's been an essential tool in connecting the community with health care workers, especially in rural areas, and for mental health and substance abuse patients. His plan includes making sure Medicaid covers telehealth services regardless of where the patient is.

Cuomo warned dangerous spread of the coronavirus could devastate hospitals around the state. 

"We must vaccinate 70-90% of our 20 million New Yorkers: Quickly, safely and fairly," Cuomo said. "We must also learn the glaring and costly lessons of America's failed public health system so we are better prepared for the next time—and, as we all now realize, there will be a next time."

Voter reform could also be on the table, including measures to expand access to early voting, allow voters more time to request an absentee ballot and speed up the process of counting absentee ballots.

The governor will continue the State of the State Address throughout the week.

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