Gov. Andrew Cuomo is meeting with The Buffalo News editorial board this afternoon, following an appearance in Niagara Falls.
In his meeting with the editorial board, Cuomo reiterated many of the points in his State of the State address: a cap on prescription drug prices, legalizing ride-hailing in upstate New York, $70 million in funding for the "I Love NY" tourism campaign, $2 million for a Clean Water Infrastructure Act and a plan to provide free SUNY college tuition to state residents earning less than $125,000.
He claimed his college tuition plan would help 15,100 Buffalo families. (The proposal wouldn't apply to those who get free college tuition through Say Yes Buffalo.) "I don't care what side of the tracks you live on. You can go to college," he said.
Cuomo also emphasized his intention to renew the millionaire's tax, which he said is worth "a tremendous amount of money" that can be funneled into funding for education and tax cuts for the middle class. To the Republicans who oppose the millionaire's tax, he said, "I wonder who they are representing and whose interests they're carrying."
On the topic of ethics in Albany, Cuomo said more oversight and more audits aren't going to make a difference. The answer is to review legislators' outside income, reform campaign finance and LLCs and name a special prosecutor who handles procurements and conflicts. "Everything else is baloney," Cuomo said of the state legislature's refusal to take up these policies.
In a recent meeting with President Donald Trump, Cuomo said he lobbied for infrastructure and development funding. He called a repeal of Obamacare a "terrible blow to New York State," in addition to potential cuts to health care, Medicaid and affordable housing.
"He is a builder. He knows New York," Cuomo said of Trump.
Earlier this afternoon, the governor appeared in Niagara Falls to cut the ribbon on a $37 million DoubleTree by Hilton on Buffalo Avenue, but he also used the appearance to tout efforts to redevelop the tourist destination.
Last week, the governor unveiled his proposed state budget, which included plans to spend $500 million on a second round of the Buffalo Billion program, provide free SUNY college tuition to state residents earning less than $125,000, to extend an expiring tax on millionaires and other new fees, increase by $1 billion the funding for public schools, have New York state redevelop prime property in Niagara Falls, and create a state board to control prescription drug prices.
Buffalo News reporters Thomas J. Prohaska, Robert J. McCarthy, David Robinson and Sandra Tan, as well as photographer Robert Kirkham, will be covering Cuomo during his stops in Western New York.
Follow The Buffalo News' live coverage of the governor's visit to Western New York below.