Cesar Perales, Secretary of State of New York, detailed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for New York. He presented a powerpoint and fielded questions at Ramapo Town Hall Monday night. He looked at several aspects from economic development to education standards.
Earlier Patch Posts on Cuomo's State of the State plan:
The governor's Progressive Agenda looks at:
- Minimum Wage
- Women’s Equality Act
According to Perales’ presentation, the current New York minimum wage is unlivable at only $14,616 per year because the average annual cost of …
- gas is $1,270
- electricity is $1,339
- auto insurance is $1,413
- groceries is $6,576
- child care is $10,750
- housing is $15,660
19 other states have higher minimum wages than NY and the state is behind other border statesState Min. Wage NY 7.25 NJ 7.25 PA 7.25 RI 7.40 ME 7.50 MA 8.00 CT 8.25 VT 8.40
Cuomo plans to raise minimum wage to $8.75 an hour.
“If you increase the minimum wage, that means more money will be spent in the New York economy,” said Perales. “With poor people, it gets spent and gets spent quickly. It also will (raise wages) for those working above minimum wage too.”
“I’m a former restaurant owner, small business owner,” said Pat Withers, Ramapo Councilman. “Alex Gromack came to me ten years ago when he was head of the wages and gambling committee. He wanted to bring in the … casinos into restaurants. What we saw was that New York State started opening up surrounding casinos, like Monticello and Empire (City Casino) When we had Quick Draw come in, we lost a lot of business to Monticello and Empire. Alex Gromack had a very good idea at that time of bringing in Quick Draw to help out small restaurants. However, increasing the minimum wage, I ask to you tread lightly on that as well. I wish I had that corporate support, but I know what it’s like to pay the O&R bill (and other bills). When you have 15 or 16 employees and you’re paying (a higher) minimum wage, it does add up. I support giving people a higher rate, but the state has to help out small businesses.”
In Cuomo’s presentation, it reads: “We are one New York community. No discrimination.”
- 49,800 arrests were made in NYC for marijuana possession, more than any other offense.
- 82 percent —Black and Hispanic
- 18 percent — other
- 69% are under the age of 30.
Cuomo’s plan is to tackle the stigma that comes with arrests made under “public view” marijuana. The challenge is that the public “Stop and Frisk” stigmatizes, criminalizes, creates a permanent record. Marijuana on a person is a violation. Marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor so there must be parity.
Cuomo plans to decriminalize public view with 15 grams or less.
- Mistaken eyewitness identifications contributed to approximately 75% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence.
- False confessions contributed to approximately 25% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence.
A wrongful conviction protects no one and you are innocent until proven guilty
Innocence Protections in the Justice System
- We propose requiring blind administering of eyewitness photo identifications.
- We propose videotaped confessions for suspects in violent crimes, including homicide and related offenses and sex crimes.
Cuomo plans to implement HOUSE NY—a new affordable housing program.
$1 billion will produce and preserve over 14,000 units of affordable housing in the next five years
Women’s Equality Act
Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act is as follows:
- Shatter the glass ceiling: Pass a real equal pay law (Treble damages for underpayment or discrimination).
- Have zero tolerance for sexual harassment in all workplaces (Would apply to all businesses regardless of size).
- Strengthen employment, lending & credit discrimination laws (Allow for the recovery of attorneys’ fees for employment & lending/credit discrimination cases).
- Strengthen human trafficking laws (Increase penalties)
- End family status discrimination (Prohibit denying promotion or hiring based upon family status).
- Prevent landlords from denying housing to qualified tenants based on the source of funds (e.g. Section 8 housing assistance)
- Stop housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence.
- Stop pregnancy discrimination once and for all (Would require analysis that reasonable accommodations be made in the workplace).
- Protect victims of domestic violence by strengthening order of protection laws (requiring orders in native language and allowing for testimony by video-conference).
- Protect a woman’s freedom of choice.
Enact the Reproductive Health Act because it’s her body, it’s her choice.
“There are still issues surrounding abortion, where it has criminal implications. We need to move it so that it is a health-related issue, not a criminal one,” said Perales.
Check back with Patch for more on Perales' presentation