‘The Gray Area’ Discusses State of the State Address: The Devil is in The Details, or Lack Thereof

Assemblyman Scott Gray (R-Watertown) released the latest episode of “The Gray Area” video series. In this week’s episode, Gray unpacks and shares his insights on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recent State of the State Address, which was delivered in the Assembly Chamber on Tuesday.

In response to the governor’s acknowledgment of a $4 billion deficit, Gray said, “We heard right at the front end that we cannot spend money we do not have. Facing a deficit of this magnitude is a significant challenge, especially considering the governor’s ambitious 204 policy goals. It will be interesting to see how we reconcile these goals with such a large budget gap.”

“The governor’s commitment to combating crime is commendable—she talked about organized retail theft and smoke shops among other high-priority areas. My bill, A.8376, aligns with this goal, aimed at curbing illicit activities associated with smoke shops. However, we need to go further in addressing the perception that people feel unsafe in their communities.” Gray recognized the importance of the mental health package but raised concerns about the practicality of requiring hospitals to conduct behavioral health screenings before patient releases. “Who is going to pay for that? Hospitals and healthcare systems are already stretched thin for staffing and financing. We need to tread carefully in this area.”

“The affordability package was one of the weaker points of the speech. It was laden with a lot of giveaways and lacked a genuine effort to address affordability. Shifting costs isn’t the solution. There’s more that can be done in terms of strengthening New York state and strengthening our business community. Overall, there are many aspects I agree with, but as we navigate through ‘The Gray Area’ of our state’s challenges, we must develop a robust strategy that addresses both the aspirations and fiscal realities of our state.”

“Look out for next week’s episode of The Gray Area as we continue to update you on what you care about. We always appreciate the opportunity to serve you and to work with you. Don’t hesitate to call my office staff with questions, comments or concerns—see you soon,” Gray concluded.

Watch the full episode here: https://youtu.be/uw4cdDVb3Wo