Pataki delivers State of the State, touches on issues affecting Bronx residents
Governor Pataki (R-NY) delivered his tenth State of the State address on Wednesday, outlining several issues that could affect Bronx residents. Among the local issues mentioned are plans to develop the Hudson waterfront and bring the Olympics to New York City.
Pataki called for developing the waterfront along the Hudson River in all five boroughs. The governor proclaimed, "Let's make it our objective to ensure that by the year 2009, the Hudson River will be swimmable from its source high in the Adirondack Mountains all the way to New York City." 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the river.
The governor also spoke about bringing the 2012 Summer Olympics to New York City. The Bronx is a major part of the city's Olympic bid. Yankee Stadium, Pelham Bay Park and Orchard Beach are all slated to be host venues. If Olympic events are held in the Bronx, it could mean a boom for the borough's tourist industry and restaurants.
Pataki talked tough on crime as well, calling for stiffer penalties to take guns off the street. He also wants a life in prison sentence for anyone convicted in a crime where a child is murdered.
The governor vowed to increase school funding. He pointed out that his intentions to provide more funding were not simply because it has been mandated by the state's highest court. Currently, New York has the most expensive education system in the nation. Pataki said, "We need to get rid of the state's archaic education funding system and replace it with a formula that's fair." But he also added that the answer to this problem this time is not taking aide from some districts and giving it to others.
Other highlights from the governor's speech included creating one million new private-sector jobs, making penalties for drunken and dangerous drivers stricter, increasing penalties for sex offenders, and improving health care for seniors.