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Business organizations react to Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State address

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday delivered his 2020 State of the State address in Albany, which drew reaction from organizations statewide. (Photo credit: Mike Groll /Andrew Cuomo flickr page)

CenterState CEO, MACNY, and Unshackle Upstate are among the groups that reacted to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday with statements offering their views on his proposals.

CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is “particularly pleased” to see Cuomo deliver proposals to “accelerate” economic growth through investments in talent development, infrastructure and tax cuts that “improve our state’s competitiveness,” Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said in the organization’s statement.


The three issues are “frequently” mentioned by CenterState CEO members as “critically important” to the success of businesses, institutions, and working families in our community.

“We have been a strong advocate of [Syracuse] Mayor Ben Walsh and [Onondaga] County Executive Ryan McMahon’s plans to establish a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, regional high school in Syracuse. Throughout that process we heard from nearly 100 business leaders who believe this STEAM school will support their need to attract and retain highly-skilled talent. Therefore, we collectively applaud Gov. Cuomo’s leadership and investment of $75 million to renovate the historic Central High School into a multipurpose complex to establish the state’s first STEAM school and worker training center that will offer high school equivalency degrees, advanced technical certification and college degrees,” said Simpson.

He went on to say that the economic-development organization is also encouraged by the state’s proposed investments in workforce-development initiatives that will support the “emerging” job demand and ensure that local residents are highly-skilled and ready to lead the jobs of the future.

“Furthermore, the state is right to broadly examine its taxation policies. Lowering the tax burden for small businesses and the middle-class is of critical importance, and I look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to develop a plan that will enhance our region and the state’s economic competitiveness,” said Simpson.

He also noted that the state’s proposed $9 million investment to establish a small UAS experimentation and test facility at Griffiss International Airport in Rome will “further advance the region’s unparalleled testing capabilities in this industry.”

Simpson also contends that New York is right to “reexamine and rethink” strategies to bring high-speed rail to New York, calling it an “important opportunity” for upstate communities to link the state’s centers of commerce with “fast-reliable service.”

Simpson and CenterState CEO colleagues also “applaud” the state’s $300 million plan to “reimagine” the Erie Canal.


DeWitt–based MACNY, the Manufacturers Association, applauded Cuomo’s commitment to build on his $175 million workforce development initiative.

MACNY represents more than 300 businesses and organizations throughout upstate and Central New York.

“We at MACNY are very pleased to hear the governor’s continued support of workforce training in New York State,” Randy Wolken, president and CEO of MACNY, said in his organization’s statement. “We continue to see a high demand from manufacturers within our community for apprenticeship and workforce development programs, and this additional funding would allow us to provide employers with the skilled workforce they require to compete in today’s global economy.”

Wolken also was pleased to hear Cuomo pledge his support for the creation of an education and workforce training center focusing on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM), which would house the state’s first regional STEAM high school in the city of Syracuse.

“A STEAM high school would serve as an instrumental tool in providing students throughout our region with the career skills employers seek for various advanced technology jobs and an ever-evolving workforce,” said Wolken.

The new STEAM school would be housed at the historic Central High School building in downtown Syracuse. New York State Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D–Syracuse) and State Senator Rachel May (D–Syracuse) sponsored the STEAM school legislation, which passed both houses last year.

Unshackle Upstate

Michael Kracker, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, also issued his reaction to the governor’s speech.            

“The facts don’t lie. New York has lost more than 1 million residents — many from Upstate communities — over the last decade. Additionally, New York has the nation’s highest overall tax burden,” said Kracker.

He went on to acknowledge that Albany has made “considerable” investments in upstate New York, but contends “more must be done to keep overburdened” families and employers from fleeing the state.

“We welcome the governor’s recognition that New York’s tax burden hurts our business climate. Reducing tax rates for small businesses and middle class families is welcome news for millions of New Yorkers,” said Kracker.

“Unfortunately,” Kracker said, Cuomo also proposed several new regulations that will “increase employers’ costs and make New York’s business climate more onerous.” Paid sick leave and other proposed mandates will hurt struggling businesses and chase jobs out of the state, he contends.

Kracker also points to Unshackle Upstate’s recently released 2020 Advocacy Agenda (, which “shares a vision for a stronger Upstate economy:”

“We encourage Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to embrace this vision and get our economy moving so more residents don’t have to move out of New York,” said Kracker.

Buffalo–based Unshackle Upstate describes itself is a “non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York.”

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