Cuomo covers legal pot, school aid, MTA fixes in State of State address

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ALBANY -

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo covered topics ranging from legalizing recreational marijuana use to school aid in his State of the State address on Tuesday.

Since he was first elected in 2010, Cuomo has been known for making a big splash in his State of the State addresses. And he did it again as he begins his third term as governor.

It was a wide-ranging agenda that included raising the statewide age to purchase tobacco products to 21 and allowing the recreational use of marijuana for people age 21 and up.

There were proposals to make high-taxed New Yorkers happy, including a tax cut for the middle class.

"I would make permanent the local property tax cap at 2 percent," Cuomo said.

 
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Cuomo proposed a 3.6 increase in school aid and a complete overhaul of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Not every proposal was well-received, including the one to legalize marijuana use.

"It leads to higher incidents of driving under the influence, and that has been seen in states where you have recreational marijuana," said Republican Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick. "Auto insurance rates have been hiked on average 5 percent."

And Republican lawmakers, who find themselves in the minority in both houses of the Legislature, warned that the Democratic majority will be deciding on where and how state funds will be spent.

"My concern...how much money is Long Island going to get for our schools and our infrastructure," said Republican state Sen. Phil Boyle, of Bay Shore.

The governor's proposed budget now goes to the Legislature, which will likely make numerous changes. The budget is supposed to be approved by April 1.

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