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Local leaders react to Cuomo’s State of the State address

By Eric Reinhardt


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday delivered his 2018 State of the State address in Albany. (Photo credit: Philip Kamrass, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Cuomo flickr page)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday delivered his 2018 State of the State address in Albany.

Reactions to the speech included statements from organizations representing business interests and statements from area members of the state legislature.

CenterState CEO

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said the organization often hears from business owners who say “finding and keeping highly skilled talent is a challenge.”

“Therefore, we are encouraged by the state’s proposal to establish a new, $175 million Consolidated Funding Application through the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) to strategically target local workforce needs in emerging industries. Improving regional talent pipelines, expanding apprenticeships and addressing both the short-term and long-term needs of businesses in expanding industries are some of the most important things the state can do to position New York to compete globally. We are excited to work with them to advance these opportunities. Furthermore, this aligns with work already underway by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council to examine talent needs of the region’s emerging industries. “

Simpson went to note that the REDC has provided more investments for Central New York “than any other region in the state.”

“Therefore, I am encouraged to hear the state propose additional funding for the REDC program. Its continuation will enable our region, and others across the state, to shape the projects that drive economic opportunities. I look forward to supporting the Central New York region’s co-chairs, Randy Wolken and Dr. [Danielle] Laraque-Arena; their leadership, vision and commitment will enable us to continue to successfully pursue state investments for key projects.”


Business Council

For the state’s business community, Cuomo’s message addressed “several critical” needs, including continued investment in workforce development and public infrastructure, Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, Inc., said in a statement the organization released Wednesday afternoon.

 “However, the governor said too little about making the state more economically competitive, especially for upstate where job growth continues to lag. We appreciate the potential impacts that federal tax reform may have on some state taxpayers, and look forward to working with the governor and the legislature on how to adjust our tax code to work better under the new federal reality. But, we have major concerns with a new payroll tax, and with increasing business taxes to offset reductions in federal taxes – especially since New York’s 2014 corporate tax reform legislation, pushed by the Business Council and championed by Gov. Cuomo, has finally made our business tax climate more competitive among the states. We believe that the prudent path is a comprehensive response to address our budget deficit and federal tax changes. New York must examine all major categories of state spending, including the largest — Medicaid and education — and address other long-recognized cost drivers including Scaffold Law. As the governor and the legislature begin to tackle what will surely be a difficult budget season, we ask that they remember these simply words, ‘first, do no harm,’” said Briccetti.


As Cuomo described the financial challenges New York faces in 2018, the “lack of solutions for the obstacles” New York’s small businesses face is “discouraging,” Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said in a statement the NFIB released following Cuomo’s address.

“While the governor talked about economic resurgence, small employers all across New York are faced with new labor mandates and rising costs across the board. With the current examination of predictive scheduling and the tipped wage, small business could be faced with yet more hurdles imposed by this administration. The significant deficit New York faces in 2018 is an opportunity for New York’s tax and spend culture to be reformed, not for finger pointing at Washington D.C. Many small businesses in New York will finally see a reduction in taxes that Albany has failed to provide them. Overhauling our tax code should include a thorough examination of our existing unsustainable spending, not imposing a potentially complicated payroll tax on employers.

We look forward to learning specific details on these proposals in the upcoming state budget address and working with lawmakers to ensure the viability of small business in New York,” said Durant.

State lawmakers

New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D–Cicero) said “it was encouraging” to see proposals targeting workforce development and that help “our students get ahead.”

“Our children are the key to our future. That’s why I’m excited to help develop the No Student Goes Hungry program. By combating hunger with locally grown foods, we can not only help New York’s farms but can also put our students – from kindergarten through college – in a position to succeed,” said Stirpe.

The Democrat also noted that reducing student-loan debt and protecting students as consumers has been “one of my top priorities during my time in the Assembly.”

“The governor’s proposal to inform students about principals, interests and total payoff amounts is a good start, but it’s just that – a start. We need to present students with this information even earlier so they can be fully aware of what the loan payoff process entails and prepared as they pursue higher education. Further, I’ll keep working to strengthen our workforce during this legislative session. Establishing a new Consolidated Funding Application through the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) will not only help businesses meet their short-term workforce needs, but will also improve the economic security of women and youth who face barriers to employment. A critical component of the proposal is the creation of a new Office of Workforce Development, which will serve as a one-stop shop for workers and businesses who are seeking jobs or employees in the state,” Stirpe added.

New York State Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R–Newport) believes a “few” priorities in this legislative session “may be beneficial” to his constituents, but “the devil is always in the details.”

“I am encouraged to see continued investment in downtown revitalization, but would like to see this investment spread more evenly among our upstate communities. Any cost-saving efforts he discussed are a burden on local governments, all while he proposed additional costly mandates through his other policy agenda points. Unfunded mandates placed on local government, small businesses, and ultimately, middle-class New York families, continue to be a concern for me and my constituents. I will look closely at the details to come forth from these proposals and fight vigorously on the behalf of the people I serve,” said Butler in a statement his office released after the speech.

Butler represents the 18th Assembly district, a five-county area that includes all or portions of Herkimer, Fulton, Oneida, Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties.

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