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Cuomo Sets Sights On Middle Class, Sciences During State Of State Speech

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his plans for the future of New York on Monday, kicking off his speaking tour across the state with a stop in New York City.

A cornerstone of Cuomo's plan is a $650 million initiative to develop the life sciences industry across the state, with a $17 million capital investment for the development of a new life sciences hub in New York City, dubbed JLABS @ NYC. The 30,000 square-foot incubator is a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and the New York Genome Center and will host up to 30 life science startups within the facility.

The state will also offer up to $250 million in tax incentives for life science businesses looking to expand in the state, invest $200 million in funding over the next 10 years to help bolster capital funding on life science initiatives, and provide aid for educational resources.

Providing initiatives for the middle class was also a priority for Cuomo, detailing what he described as a series of "middle class recovery" initiatives.

Cuomo expressed concern over what he said is a common and powerful belief that America's diversity and openness is in conflict with working families, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

"That belief is both misguided and incredibly dangerous," Cuomo said, addressing what he described as "middle class anger," Papa reported. He proposed a plan that focuses on stimulating job growth in key sectors, improving and maintaining infrastructure, while also fostering affordable educational resources for lower income families.

For New York City, plans included the renovation of LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport and continued improvements in mass transit. Under Cuomo's plan, Staten Island residents would receive permanent reduced tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, and security measures would be increased at area bridges to help combat the threat of terrorism.

Renovations of Orchard Beach and the Kingsbridge Armory Ice Center in the Bronx were also on the agenda.

"Our success breeds envy and envy makes us a target," Cuomo said.

Under Cuomo's plan, New York City would also be a target city for a pilot program for community after school programs in low-income neighborhoods, with middle class families receiving a child care tax break. As far as upper education, Cuomo touted his recent plan for free college tuition up to $125,000 at SUNY and CUNY school for low-income families.

"New York City will receive more aid for education than it has ever received from the state of New York in history," Cuomo said.

Cuomo also announced the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant by April 2021 -- up to 14 years earlier than federal regulations required, as well as plans for early voting and same-day voter registration.

Cuomo also set himself up as the anti-Donald Trump and the guardian of progressive policies.

"We all heard the roar on Election Day, and we must respond," Trump said. "We must prevent directed anger from doing damage to our country's core values."

But following the speech, Reclaim New York executive director Brandon Muir criticized the plan, calling the governor's plans a "fantasy wish list."

"Despite what he told New Yorkers this morning, the middle class will have to pay for these grand visions, and giveaways," Muir said.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, many of the plans indeed are far from cheap. The JFK renovation plan would cost $10 billion, supportive housing for the homeless would cost $20 billion, and the life sciences industry plan would cost $650 million.

Other plans have smaller price tags. The plan for after-school programs in poor areas would cost $35 million, and the plan to promote urban recreation at Orchard Beach in the Bronx would cost $10 million.

Still, GOP State Chairman Ed Cox said Cuomo is "facing a huge budget deficit. It's going to be very hard for him to do any of the expensive programs."

And as to how the governor might pay for it, Cox said, "There's talk about raising taxes."

Added Muir: "The middle class will have to pay for these grand visions, and giveaways. We had hoped for honesty. So far, all we have is a fantasy we can't afford."

Cuomo aides said the money for the projects will be in Cuomo's proposed budget, and then it will be up to the state and the assembly.

"That's what the legislative process is all about," said city Comptroller Scott Stringer. "You make proposals, and then you look at what you can get from the legislature."

There are also many things Cuomo is proposing that are legislative changes, including reforming the judicial system, eliminating the wage gap, expanding opportunities for immigrants, and combating hate crimes.

Cuomo is planning to visit six regions this week delivering speeches across the state. Cuomo will head up to Buffalo following his appearance in New York City, with other speeches planned in Westchester and on Long Island.

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