Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul was in Utica Friday to highlight the 2018-19 New York State Budget and how it will impact the Mohawk Valley.

A number of initiatives were covered including increased education spending, the Opioid crisis and women's rights.

One of the areas of education Hochul addressed was a $1 Billion increase in spending on Education Aid. Hochul also pointed out the fact that 6,100 Mohawk Valley students are currently enrolled in the Excelsior free college tuition program. The household income threshold for being eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship has been increased to $110,000 in 2018-19.

Hochul also emphasized the impact the 'MeToo' movement has had on changing policy across the country. Hochul claimed that New York is moving forward with the most aggressive anti-Sexual Harassment agenda in the nation. One of the laws passed to combat sexual harassment requires all state contractors to have a sexual harassment policy and train employees.

Another critical element that Hochul touched on was the Opioid crisis not only nationally, but specifically in New York. The state is investing $100 Million in an Opioid Fund to fight those responsible for this epidemic.

Andrew Derminio, WIBX
Andrew Derminio, WIBX

Hochul also adderessed the importance of the $300 Million remaining in the budget for the MVHS Downtown Hospial Project. Hochul says, "That's $300 Million that no one should take for granted. We believe this could be a catalyst for the downtown area." Hochul said she's seen the positive economic impacts of a new medical facility in her hometown of Buffalo.

Mayor of Utica Rob Palmieri, Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo and Oneida County Clerk Sandy DePerno were among the elected officials present at the event in the State Office Building.

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