In the wake of Governor Cuomo's state of the state address, area officials and state residents are reacting. Some area leaders are speaking out today regarding two of the bigger issues that seemed to be missing from the governor's speech. Eyewitness News spoke with both County Executive Anthony Picente and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney who agree the Governor brought up some positive developments in his address. However, he left out two major issues facing our area specifically--Hydrofracking and Mandate Relief for Medicaid.
Tenney says that Cuomo mentioned Medicaid a few times, but not in way that shows it's something he'll tackle this year. Picente says the county pays one million dollars a week in Medicaid expenses. They both agree there needs to be some relief and it's something that needs to be addressed now.
"It's a problem that we have to tackle head on and there's a huge amount of waste," says Tenney, "and I want to make sure we're directing the money to the people who really need to get it."
"If Medicaid costs more we can't fix the roads, we can't fund the libraries the way we have, we can't provide day care," says Picente, "That's what mandate relief is."
While they say Cuomo spoke of a Mandate Relief Task Force to look into this problem, they say the research has been done, now it's time for action.
"There's some great bills sitting in the assembly that the governor should take on," says Tenney, "and negotiate to be part of the budget."
Picente noted, "If you don't like this version, let's work towards a better version, but let's get something done this year."
Hydrofracking was another issue that wasn't addressed. Picente says perhaps Cuomo feels there was nothing new to address while the DEC is continuing to study the issue. Tenney says maybe because of the controversy surrounding fracking Cuomo is re-considering his pro-fracking stance.
Still, they both are surprised that it wasn't mentioned at all.
Picente says Cuomo could speak about the Medicaid issue in the Governor's upcoming budget address. And if it's not, he said it's up to area leaders and legislators to push the Governor and his administration to act on the ongoing problem.