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"Dear Santa...": Lt. Governor Hochul hints at Cuomo wish list for 2017

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

If the Cuomo Administration decided to write Santa Claus a wish list for items passed in 2017, what would be on that list? Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, during her most recent visit to Buffalo, was asked what her boss would like to see in the new year.

Topping the list is something that the Cuomo Administration has long talked about, ethics reform. He has pushed for it following the demise of former state lawmakers including one-time Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. He has suggested that ethics reform be tackled by lawmakers if they want their first pay raise since 1999.

Lieutenant Governor Hochul, on Monday, told WBFO that reform begins with eliminating outside income for legislators.

"We've made some incremental progress but we need the legislature to support his initiatives to, for example, ban outside income," Hochul said. "We respect you as people who work full time. We understand that. But there's always this opportunity for ethical issues to arise, as we've seen with past cases, if there's outside income coming in."

Reform should also include limits to campaign contributions, she added. 

Also on the governor's wish list is the opportunity for more job growth. Hochul credits the Cuomo Administration's initiatives for the creation of more than 800,000 jobs and says upstate economic development is only getting started.

"We've seen that recovery here in Western New York but we want to make sure that continues," Hochul said. "Truly, when you see the development that's already underway here, we haven't even hit our stride yet."

WBFO asked Hochul about whether 2017 may be the year ride-hailing is permitted statewide. She supports the idea and says many other New Yorkers do, too.

"I was not surprised to find out that 43,000 people tried to access Uber, primarily kids like my own, coming home from Washington who couldn't understand why they couldn't get a ride home one night," said Hochul, citing Uber's recent claim that tens of thousands of their app users tried unsuccessfully to hire a ride on the eve of Thanksgiving. 

"It's affecting people's lives. It also creates opportunity for people to be part of the mobile economy, people who are students who need to make a few extra dollars. People who are homemakers and need to make some extra money when the kids are at school. There are so many ways that this can really help out."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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