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Cuomo lays out agenda for NY in election year

Albany, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is delivering a broad election-year agenda in a State of the State speech promoting a property tax freeze, tougher anti-corruption laws and modernizing New York City's airports.

Cuomo is seeking a second term this year and the speech Wednesday gives him a high-profile forum to promote his first three years while unveiling an agenda with elements that will please both social progressives and financial conservatives.

The governor this week gave an early look at a sweeping $2 billion tax relief proposal that includes property tax rebates for homeowners in municipalities that meet tax thresholds and a cut in corporate tax rates.

With a series of public corruption cases roiling the Legislature, Cuomo is calling for increased penalties for official misconduct and tighter disclosure rules on lawmakers' conflicts of interest.

*Here are highlights from Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his 2014 State of the State address:

EDUCATION:

- Support for universal all-day pre-kindergarten programs statewide.

- A new SUNY College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, with former New York City police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a special adviser.

- A $2 billion "Smart Schools" bond referendum to help modernize classrooms.

- A "Teacher Excellence Fund" to give teachers rated highly effective up to $20,000 in annual supplemental compensation.

ECONOMY:

- Finalize plans for siting new casino resorts upstate by early fall.

- A $2.2 billion package of tax relief for New York residents and businesses.

- Increasing the New York estate tax threshold to $5.25 million from $1 million.

- An "Upstate-Downstate Food-to-Table Summit" to link farmers with new markets.

- A "New York State Adventure License," a driver's license with icons for all of an individual's sporting licenses, the Boater Safety Certificate and

the lifetime Empire Pass to state parks.

- Freeze property taxes for some owners and provide a refundable personal income tax credit to give some renters property tax relief.

- A goal of awarding 5 percent of state contracts to the businesses of disabled veterans.

HEALTH:

- Launch a pilot medical marijuana research program allowing up to 20 hospitals to provide the drug to patients with certain serious illnesses.

INFRASTRUCTURE:

- Take over responsibility for airport construction from the Port Authority and modernize the JFK and LaGuardia airports.

- Upgrade parts of the New York City commuter rail system to protect it from disasters and increase capacity.

- Study improvements in the road network linking I-81 in Watertown to I-87 in Champlain.

- Replacing and repairing 104 older bridges at risk due to increasing flooding.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE:

- Crack down on drunk and drugged driving, including revoking the licenses of people convicted three times in their lives.

- A law that would suspend a driver's license for from six months to a year for anyone under age 21 convicted of texting-while-driving.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 
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