PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan for 2013 includes business and education reform, casinos and new gun and marijuana laws.
The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce hosted Joan McDonald, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, Thursday morning for a presentation on Cuomo's State of the State address. Here are some of the highlights:
• While New York is second only to California in research dollars spent, the state attracts only 4 percent of venture capital while California gets 47 percent.
The state plans to create 10 high-tech "hot spots" that are tax-free incubators for job growth. The state also plans to implement the Innovation NY Network, which teams venture capitalists with educational institutions to foster commercial growth in the state.
"We are setting up a competition for these hot spots," McDonald said. "Five will be awarded in 2013 and five in 2014."
• The state will also spend $150 million each year for 10 years to create jobs in the solar energy industry and create a bank to help create loans for clean energy programs such as solar power.
• Workers compensation and unemployment insurance programs will also be revamped at the request of business owners.
"The governor is proposing initiatives that will provide predictability and reform the system and result in savings of $1.3 billion to businesses that will give a strong message that New York is open for business," McDonald said.
• The governor plans to increase New York's minimum wage of 7.25 to $8.75.
• The state will also also spend a billion dollars to preserve 14,000 units of affordable housing over the next five years.
• The state will begin a new tourism campaign and also begin aggressively marketing state-grown and -produced products at duty-free stores to be created across the state.
• Casino creation will increased be in the upstate regions, with 90 percent of revenues going to education and the remaining 10 percent going towards local tax relief.
• In education, the state is looking to increase the number of school days per year and increase the amount of full-day pre-kindergarten education to help close the achievement gap with other industrialized countries. Teacher training and evaluation will also be revamped, and the state is currently planning a 4 percent funding increase to state schools for the 2013-14 school year.
The state will begin creating community schools in economically distressed communities that would not only provide education but health, after-school and employment services as well.
• Women's equality will also be a priority, with the governor planning to write a 10-point women's equality act that would make unequal pay illegal and create tighter rules against sexual harassment.
• The governor is also looking to beef up gun laws by passing the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation, as well as close loopholes in the regulation of private gun sales.
Highlights of Thursday's slideshow presentation can be viewed in the photo gallery above.