There has been much recent discussion about the States budget deficit. But the States deficit is only a symptom and as Governor, I want to address the illness. The essential problem we face is a struggling national economy with high long-term unemployment and underemployment rates. This economic crisis contributes to and is compounded by government dysfunction in Washington, which further roils the markets and erodes public confidence.
Our goal in New York should be twofold: to fashion a job-creating economic plan, and to defy political gridlock like we see in Washington and make government work to actually implement the plan.
I believe there is a path forward for New York. Job creation can result from an effective public private sector partnership focusing on infrastructure development and tax incentives. Political consensus can be forged by constructing a platform on fair policy rather than political ideology.
First, we must make a serious investment in this states ailing infrastructure.
I propose creating the New York Works Initiative an infrastructure fund that will finance the repair and development of highways, bridges and major construction projects.
The Fund will promote innovative public-private partnerships with business and labor.
Second, we must promote economic development across the entire state by investing in regional strategies. We have had great success this year with our Regional Economic Development Councils, which have brought local leaders together to design innovative blueprints for economic growth. We should commence a second round that builds on these early successes.
Third, we should pursue a comprehensive gaming plan recognizing the reality that New York is already in the gaming business and create destination gaming locations. Through this plan, we can promote job creation and recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states.
Fourth, we must provide targeted help to a group that is being particularly hard hit by the current economic crisis inner city youth.
These young people, who face unemployment rates as high as 40 percent, deserve meaningful job opportunities.
This is a crisis within a crisis, and we must do all we can to make sure all New Yorkers are part of our future.
To address this crisis, I am proposing that we create a New York Youth Works program to provide immediate job training, job placement, and tax credits for employers who hire, train, and retain inner city youth.
Finally, an effective way to stimulate the economy and promote job creation is through our tax system. We should pursue comprehensive reform of our tax code to make it fair, affordable and one that incentivizes economic growth.
Most importantly, New York State government must act. I will be reaching out to Democratic and Republican officials in a spirit of cooperation and compromise so that together we can enact a real economic program that creates jobs.
Now is not the time for rigid partisanship but for effective leadership. New York State government must rise to the occasion and lead once again.