What is the state of our state? In some ways, it is like the state of the nation, and indeed the state of the world. We are hurt, we are frustrated, we are in mourning, we are anxious. We are shocked that an invisible enemy could wreak such death and destruction, especially in this, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
In normal times, a Governor’s State of the State address is issued on one day in one presentation. But these are no ordinary times and our plan is more complex and detailed. I will give an overview today and three additional presentations of specific action plans in the coming days. Allow me to outline the scope of our seven point plan.
- First, we must defeat COVID and beat back the assault as the virus rages in these next few months. It will not be easy. A high-performing hospital system, as well as the diligence of New Yorkers, are the keys to stop the spread.
- Second, the vaccine will end the COVID crisis. We must vaccinate 70-90% of our 20 million New Yorkers: quickly, safely and fairly. 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.
- Third, we must deal with our short-term economic crisis, a record $15 billion State deficit that must be addressed in the next several weeks.
- Fourth, we must plan our economic resurgence. We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy: smartly and safely. Also, we must energize the lagging private sector and rebuild our economic platform – our transportation system and infrastructure – for the next generation of growth.
- Fifth, we must seize the opportunity to make New York the global leader in the long overdue economic shift to green energy. This is the smart thing to do, this is the right thing to do, and it will create thousands of good, secure jobs.
- Sixth, we must be the first to anticipate how COVID will transform our society and economy, and capitalize on those coming changes.
- Seventh, we must address the systemic injustices exposed during this year’s low tide in America – the inequity, the racism, the social abuse.
And my friends if that wasn’t ambitious enough, all of these plans must move simultaneously. It will be hard. It will be the greatest test for government since we ,obilized to fight WWII. It will also be the greatest opportunity for advancement since post WWII.