Upstate New York's struggling economy will get a boost if plans proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State speech in Albany Wednesday move ahead.
Among other things, he's pushing for increased tourism traffic to drive the economy, and one way to do that is creating a casino gaming plan. The governor has proposed allowing three casinos to be built upstate.
"And I believe casinos in upstate New York could be a great magnet to bring the New York City traffic up. They now go to New Jersey, Connecticut -- why don't we bring them to upstate New York?" asked the governor in a lengthy address outlining his legislative priorities.
Cuomo also suggests an upstate marketing program and the creation of duty-free stores to sell upstate products, as ways to help the upstate economy.
Also in the speech, as expected, Cuomo proposed an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75; enactment of the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation; a new campaign financing plan; and a ten-point plan for women equality that would include stronger pro-choice measures and equal pay legislation.
The section of his speech about women's rights perhaps got the loudest applause.
"We passed marriage equality. Lets make history again and lets pass a women's equality act in the state of New York," said the governor to cheers.And the part of the plan that won the biggest applause -- creation of stronger pro-choice measures.
Cuomo didn't mention one of the more controversial issues in the state, hydrofracking, which the state has been studying for four years as it decides whether to offer permits to gas drilling companies. The issue drew thousands of protestors to the Capitol today.