Local and statewide elected leaders, key policy makers and stakeholders from across New York voiced support for the Governors 2014 State of the State address in which he laid out a plan for the future of our state. Today, members of the Governors cabinet are delivering his message for progress at events in Broome, Erie, Montgomery, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Orange, and Oswego Counties. For more information on the Governors 2014 State of the State, click here.
CONTINUING NEW YORKS SUCCESSFUL JOB GROWTH STRATEGY
Heather Bricetti, President & CEO The Business Council of New York State said, There is much for business in New York to be encouraged about in Governor Cuomo's State of the State address. His continued emphasis on holding growth in overall state spending to under 2 percent is for another year is welcomed news. The Business Council applauds the Governor's tax relief proposals, that will provide more than $2 billion in savings to New York employers and residents. This is big news for the state's economy, especially upstate, as these tax cuts will provide broad-based business tax relief, and support key business sectors across New York. The Business Council represents a wide range of enterprises across the state, all of whom are burdened by regulations and we look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature in establishing in a joint commission to identify ways to eliminate regulatory barriers that make it difficult to do business in New York State and hinder economic growth. We await further details in the Governor's budget proposal and stand ready to assist the Governor in making these important real through the Legislative process.
Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, The governors plan will fundamentally improve the business climate in our state and is perhaps the most important single action the state could take to encourage job creation and economic growth.
Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, Governor Cuomos strong support of home grown industries like wine and spirits industry is helping to create jobs, expand opportunities and make personal dreams come true. Why? Great leaders empower communities by bringing people together to solve issues that they might not otherwise be able to do so on their own. These summits not only generate business, they bring people together to spark collaboration and new ideas on how entrepreneurs and small businesses can succeed in these emerging marketplaces.
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Kathryn Boor said, Governor Cuomos strong support for agriculture in New York has been a key driver leading the impressive success the industry has had in recent years, Boor said. Through targeted state investments, thoughtful regulatory changes, and events like the summits, the Cuomo Administration has worked closely with farmers, industry leaders and countless other stakeholders to develop important new ways to remove barriers to growth and generate new opportunities for New York agriculture. I applaud the Governors efforts and can attest to the productivity and success that can result from this kind of attention and collaboration. His proposal to host another round of summits is great news for all New Yorkers.
Michael Wilton, Executive Director of the New York Gaming Association, said, I commend Governor Cuomo on his nomination of Mark Gearan to chair the New York Gaming Commission. Mr. Gearans background in the academic sector as an administrator and policy expert, as well as his tenure at the Peace Corps show that he is a person of skill and vision. We believe he is well suited to help the gaming and racing sectors realize their full potential in New York. We look forward to working with him.
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership: The Partnership has long advocated for addressing New York State's high tax burden, and Governor Cuomo's focus on reducing our tax burden with START-UP NY and the Tax Commission should be commended. We are especially pleased with the Governors plan for a reduction of corporate tax rate for manufacturing to zero and the previously mentioned phase out of the 18A energy assessment, which has been a longstanding priority for Buffalo Niagara's business community. Unfortunately, the circuit breaker only provide limited property tax relief for some; we need structural tax and mandate relief for all. The Partnership will continue to urge Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for permanent, broad-based solutions and mandate relief to reduce the tax burden for NYS employers and taxpayers.
Also from Dottie Gallagher-Cohen re: Genomic Research Facility: Governor Cuomos continued commitment to Buffalo Niagara through the Buffalo Billion is applauded by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the latest investment of $100 million for a genomic research facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is an exciting proposal. Linking the work done at Roswell Park, the Medical Campus, and the University at Buffalo to research being done across New York State can lead to economic development while putting New York on the forefront of life-saving technology.
TRANSFORMING NEW YORKS SCHOOLS
Rochester Young Professional, Inc. President Nate Bank said, Todays thinkers are tomorrows creators and weve seen time and time again that careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields are what businesses want and will soon not only want but need. I applaud Governor Cuomos vision to support graduating high school students by providing full tuition for any public college to the highest achieving students who plan to pursue STEM studies in college and a career afterwards. If we invest in our students today, they will help us build a strong and vibrant Upstate economy tomorrow.
StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis said, With his bold announcement of the Teacher Excellence Fund and $20,000 bonuses for highly effective teachers, Governor Cuomo has positioned New York as a leader in the national education reform movement. New York's innovative teacher evaluation system allowed us to finally recognize teachers for their performance and now we can compensate them as the professionals that they are. Governor Cuomo knows that the quality of the classroom teacher is the single greatest factor in a child's success, and he's investing New York's precious dollars where they will have the greatest impact: teacher quality. Governor Cuomo is to be applauded for his unwavering commitment to the children and families in New York State."
Healthy Schools Network Executive Director Claire Barnett said, We believe Smart Schools are healthy schools, and healthy schools are smart schools. We will urge New Yorkers to support Governor Cuomos ambitious $2 billion plan, but we remind the Governor, and all New Yorkers, that good learning environments begin with clean and safe schools. Adding advanced technology to classrooms that are making our children sick wont solve the problem. To achieve the Governors goals, we need to make sure that smart schools will have healthy siting, healthy design and construction, healthy maintenance, and healthy products inside.
PROGRESSIVE, SAFER, FAIRER, CLEANER COMMUNITIES
Evan R. Bernstein, New York Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, We applaud Governor Cuomos call to require schools to immediately report ongoing incidents of discrimination or harassment like the accusations of anti-Semitic bullying incidents at Pine Bush Central School District that were exposed this summer to appropriate state agencies. This is a common sense proposal that will go a long way to protect our students. Governor Cuomo should be commended for both his strong response to the Pine Bush allegations, and for following through with this proposal to make sure discrimination and harassment have no place in any of our schools and is appropriately addressed. We urge the New York State legislature to act quickly on the Governors proposals to protect our students.
We appreciate the continued commitment to building New Yorks clean energy economy and we are confident New Yorks progress can extend into 2014 and beyond with support from the Governor, Legislature, regulatory agencies and state authorities, said Valerie Strauss, executive director of Alliance for Quality Energy NY. We also commend the Governors proposal to deploy solar energy through community aggregation. Combining the buying power of schools and other public institutions with that of individual customers is a cost-effective way for communities to make the switch to clean energy, and we hope this initiative will create significant opportunities for New Yorks growing solar industry. As we tackle the realities of climate change, strengthening New York States infrastructure while increasing the use of clean energy is an absolute must. We look forward to working with the Governor and the members of the Legislature in creating a sustainable future.
Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) said, Governor Cuomo described his proposal as having two critical elements: building community and justice. The Governor spoke movingly of the rights of students to attend school without the fear of discrimination or harassment and he recommended concrete, statutory changes that will give state agencies the power to intervene to protect those being victimized. He clearly understands the problem and, once again, this initiative demonstrates his tremendous leadership.
We applaud and commend Gov. Cuomo for his ongoing vigilance on this issue, for his zero tolerance policy on anti-Semitism, and for proposing a law that will require schools to report discrimination and harassment, said Jeff Leb, Director of NY State Political Affairs for OU Advocacy. Bullying or harassment of any kind should never be tolerated, but bullying and harassment against schoolchildren compromises their ability to focus and to learn and transforms an environment that should be a safe place into a place of fear and intimidation. We hope all New York state legislators embrace this proposed law to protect our students.
Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement in reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomos State of the State address:
Governor Cuomos address was crowded with numerous policy proposals, many of which are worthy of broad bipartisan support. Agudath Israel looks forward to working together with the Governors office to help advance initiatives that will be of great benefit to the community.
Perhaps the high moment of the Governors address was when he spoke about the horrifying allegations of anti-Semitic harassment directed at students in the Pine Bush Central School District. We commend his proposal that such incidents be reported to state authorities. We also commend the emotional passion he displayed when condemning anti-Semitism. Clearly, Governor Cuomo was speaking from the depths of his heart when he articulated his zero-tolerance policy for such incidents. For that we are deeply grateful.
Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association of New York, said, Governor Cuomo continues to put the issue of re-entry on the map, this time by initiating a council to identify and address the barriers faced by formerly incarcerated people. We are hopeful that the council will help to create a better bridge between prison and the community and work to enhance programs and reentry services. The Governor understands that successful reentry reduces crime and saves taxpayer dollars. This effort will have far-reaching effects that will extend to families and communities state-wide.
Anita Marton, Deputy Director, LAC, said Governor Cuomo recognizes that successful reentry benefits not just the individual but also the community. This initiative will help promote self-sufficiency and aid in the transition of formerly incarcerated individuals back into society. We applaud the Governor for addressing this important issue, which will undoubtedly improve our communities and strengthen our families.
Jeremy Travis, President Of The John Jay School Of Criminal Justice, said, This administration brings focus to the issue of re-entry like none before. Facilitating the re-entry of the formerly incarcerated translates into benefits for everyone. This initiative will help the formerly incarcerated re-establish community ties and become productive members of their community. Fostering this dynamic has the added benefit of decreasing the likelihood that the formerly incarcerated will return to prison in the future.
Jennifer Jones Austin, Executive Director & CEO of The Federation Of Protestant Welfare Agencies: New York has the dubious distinction of being one of only two states to treat children who are 16 and older as adults. But we know that the current system isnt fully equipped to provide the type of assistance these young offenders need, putting them at increased risk for re-offending and being victimized. The work of this Commission will make a difference in the lives of so many young people.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, I feel strongly that New York should raise the age of criminal responsibility. We must figure out a way for New York to reform this element of the law. I'm confident that we can do this in a way that helps kids, reduces recidivism, and protects communities. Governor Cuomos approach is measured, balanced, and the right way to go. I applaud him for his leadership.
Albany Chief of Police Steven Krokoff said The issues surrounding how to deal with youth who commit crimes are complex and pose unique challenges for the criminal justice system. The time has come for New York to have a thoughtful, evidence-based discussion about raising the age of criminal responsibility; one that seeks to improve juvenile and criminal justice system outcomes while maintaining public safety. I commend the Governor for proposing a Commission that will provide a platform for this important discussion. Additionally, the creation of the New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration promises to help recognize and remediate the many collateral consequences frequently associated with incarceration and will better position a formally incarcerated individual for success. These proposals will most assuredly have a direct impact on crime reduction, which translates to the most fundamental public safety outcome fewer crime victims.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael R. Tantillo, said, Too many times, my office has had to prosecute a case where the end-result of a drunk or drugged driving accident. Taking away the privilege of driving from someone who has misused that privilege again and again will go a long way toward taking dangerous drivers off the roads of New York State, and will go a long way toward saving lives.
Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen: Each year there are 50,000 people arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I thank Governor Cuomo for taking the initiative to address this epidemic. The Governors proposal should be a critical legislative priority. Those who choose to drive intoxicated should no longer have the privilege of holding a New York State drivers license.
Doris Aiken, Founder RID USA: The Governor has shown strong leadership in making New Yorks roadways safer for all drivers. I applaud his proposals to further toughen laws that crack down on those individuals who repeatedly make the choice to drive drunk or otherwise impaired. Revoking an individuals right to drive after repeated convictions will make a difference, and we are very proud that Governor Cuomo has decided to take this tough stance.
Christina M. Hale, Chairperson of the NYS STOP-DWI Association, said, "The NYS STOP-DWI Association is deeply gratified with Governor Cuomo's commitment to addressing the hard-core drunk and impaired driver. The STOP-DWI Program is proud of the many milestones we have achieved in New York State over the past 32 years that have resulted in reducing the tragic deaths and injuries that are the direct result of impaired driving. We very much look forward to this next year and continuing this significant work with the Governor."
Steuben County District Attorney Brooks T. Baker said, Texting and driving is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions, and we are losing lives to this dangerous habit. I commend Governor Cuomo for the steps he has taken in curbing texting while driving including enhanced penalties, texting rest stops, and increased enforcement. The Governors initiatives should send a message to drivers that texting while driving can lead to disaster.
Clinton County District Attorney Andrew J. Wylie: "I applaud and support the Governor's efforts in bringing more awareness to this issue. I have seen first-hand several cases in Clinton County over the last year where distracted drivers, both young and old, have, as a result of texting, caused accidents on our local highways. The proposed enhancement sanctions should bring more awareness in this social media world which we live in."
Solar Energy Industries Association Senior Vice President for State Affairs Carrie Cullen Hitt: New York State had a great year for solar in 2013. Under Gov. Cuomos strong leadership, we have seen New Yorks solar investment increase exponentially, creating quality jobs, improving the environment and reducing red tape. We look forward to working with his administration on the implementation of the next phase of NY-Sun, and on programs such as community solar, the Green Bank and other initiatives.
Gov. Cuomos NY-Sun Initiative was designed to do something remarkable: to transform the states energy landscape by building a strong solar industry and making solar a cost-effective energy option for more New Yorkers. Its exciting to see that bold solar energy vision turn quickly into real opportunity under the Governors leadership. We look forward to continuing our work together in building a stronger, safer, solar-powered New York, said Peter Olmsted, east coast policy advocate for Vote Solar.
Stephen G. Whitley, president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator: Governor Cuomo is providing a sustained focus on the need for investment in the energy infrastructure of New York state. The governors New York Energy Highway Initiative provides the leadership necessary to enhance the reliability, resilience and efficiency of the transmission system. The result will improve competition across New York while enhancing the ability of renewable resources to help meet the downstate energy demands.
James T. Gallagher, Executive Director, New York State Smart Grid Consortium: Community grids protect people, businesses and infrastructure from the devastation of extreme weather and from extended power outages as were experienced following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The power grid of the future will provide more flexibility and choices for consumers and Governor Cuomos NYPrize competition will be a catalyst for the grids transformation.
Andrea Miller, President of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Pro-Choice New York, said, We join with all pro-choice New Yorkers today in applauding Governor Cuomos renewed commitment to seeing all the crucial reforms that comprise the Womens Equality Act become law this year including instilling the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law.
Statement from Mark Izeman, Director of the New York Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
In the face of climate change, developing clean energy sources and making our communities more resilient to extreme weather are critical for the health of New Yorkers and the future of our state. With Governor Cuomos leadership, New York State is doubling down to achieve these goals.
New investments in clean energy will make New York a national leader on solar power. A ten-year statewide solar program will increase the amount of solar power in our state ten-fold, providing enough clean energy to power more than a half million New York homes. A program to put solar panels on our schools will not only mean healthier air for kids to breathe, but reduced costs so we can put more money toward education instead of energy.
Acknowledging the devastating impact of Sandy and other recent storms, the Governor has announced an impressive array of new efforts to better safeguard the state in the face our changing climate. From restoring natural barriers to providing communities with clean power alternatives to keep the lights on when the grid goes down, these projects hold promise to help New York better weather the next superstorm.
As always, the details will matter and follow-through is essential but todays announcements hold great promise for a stronger, healthier New York.
Press Release from IBEW Local Union 97
Governor Andrew Cuomo created the New York State Energy Highway Blueprint in 2012 that recognized the need for major investment in New York State power transmission and generation infrastructure. He has again demonstrated leadership and an understanding of the urgent need to advance these investments through his latest endeavor to expedite critical transmission projects in New York State.
Streamlining transmission projects to unclog bottlenecks is the right move for New York State. We have tremendous power assets in the Upstate region that are not being utilized to their fullest capacity to meet the State's energy needs because the transmission system is incapable
of moving power from where it exists to where it is needed. The Governor's initiative will sendthe right message to the energy industry to invest in these important projects that help lowerpower costs for residents and businesses and support the revitalization of our economy and thecontinued retention of tens of thousands of jobs across the state.
Press Release from the Salvatore Trentanelli, President of the NYS Association of Traffic Safety Boards:
The New York State Association of Traffic Safety Boards is pleased that Governor Cuomo has announced in his State of the State Address today that he will continue the fight against drunk and dangerous driving and texting while driving in 2014 by proposing additional legislation to strengthen current laws and hold violators accountable.With more than 350 people killed each year due to alcohol related crashes and 50,000 people arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol we believe it is time to take away the driving privilege of those who choose to violate the law again and again.
Texting and driving has become an enormous problem and we are losing too many lives to this extremely dangerous habit. We commend Governor Cuomo for his efforts to curb texting while driving which includes enhanced penalties, texting rest stops and increased enforcement.
His announcement today should make all drivers under the age of 21 think twice about using their mobile device while behind the wheel.
While we strongly believe in educating the motoring public about the dangers of driving under the influence and distracted driving we feel that these efforts coupled with the Governors call for stronger penalties are necessary to protect everyone on our roadways and call attention to these extremely dangerous habits that can result in fatal consequences.
The New York State Association of Traffic Safety Boards is a not-for-profit organization comprised of local traffic safety boards and traffic safety advocates working together to find solutions to reduce deaths and injuries due to highway related incidents. We work closely with the Governors Traffic Safety Committee and appreciate Governor Cuomos continued support for tougher legislation to reduce these incidents.
Press Release: Youth Represent Applauds Governor Cuomo for Creating Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice
January 8, 2014 -- Youth Represent congratulates Governor Cuomo for creating a Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice. In the State of the State address today, the Governor said, Our juvenile justice laws are outdated. Noting that New York remains one of only two states that continues to prosecute youth as adults beginning at age 16, the Governor said, Its not right. Its not fair. We must raise the age.
Youth Represent has been working tirelessly to end the practice of criminalizing our youth as adults. We have focused on educating lawmakers and the public about the importance of holding youth accountable for their actions while also treating them appropriately for their age. We recently testified before the New York State Assembly about raising the age of criminal responsibility; you can read this testimony here.
Governor Cuomo has been a leader in youth justice reform, implementing ground-breaking reforms including creating permanent funding streams for evidence-based community programs for youth, mandating the use of risk-assessment instruments, and bringing youth back into their communities with the Close to Home initiative. These reforms contributed to a 43% reduction in the number of children confined in youth facilities in New York between 2001 and 2010. We are pleased that the Governor has committed to taking the next step of extending youth justice reforms to all adolescents. Youth Represent supports comprehensive youth justice reform that will:
- Raise the age for all youth, regardless of the crime charged;
- Guarantee that no youth are housed in adult jails and prisons, a practice that is detrimental to youth safety and well-being;
- Continue to reduce detention and placement in juvenile facilities, and increase the use of community-based programs and services;
- Increase the ability to divert cases from the criminal justice system, both at arrest and from court; and
- Reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
We must continue this forward momentum and ensure that all youth have the opportunity to move forward from early mistakes to rich, productive lives.
Statement by Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Alliance for New York State Parks:
Governor Cuomos State of the State address highlighted his ongoing commitment to improving New Yorks state parks. Having invested more than $200 million over the past two years for state park repairs and upgrades, the governor recognizes the value of parks, both as recreational and cultural destinations and as economic drivers.
Never in the history of the New York State Park system has there been this level of sustained investment to upgrade and restore New Yorks state parks. These investments are transforming a once beleaguered system and restoring our greatest natural treasures as sources of pride, community vitality and economic strength.
On behalf of the 60 million people who visit state parks each year and the businesses and workers that benefit from the economic activity they spur, we appreciate all Governor Cuomo has done to address the nearly one billion dollars needed for infrastructure repairs and improvements and support his continuing commitment.
REIMAGINING NEW YORK FOR A NEW REALITY
Judith Rudin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, said, In 2012, the 2100 Commission called for significant action to more effectively prepare New York States vast and complex transportation infrastructure for future weather emergencies. Governor Cuomos commitment today, of billions in our mass transit systems, bridges and tunnels is an investment in the resilience of our economy, environment, and the well-being of our citizens.
New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson said, From the days leading up to Superstorm Sandy, through its immediate aftermath and over the months that have followed, Governor Cuomo and his team have done extraordinary work. The advanced preparations undertaken by a host of state agencies, highlighted by the MTA, helped mitigate the storms initial damage, and the Governors tireless advocacy assured that New York received its fair share of federal disaster relief. Aided by the work of his 2100 Commission, Governor Cuomo has now laid out an ambitious, yet achievable, set of initiatives designed to significantly upgrade and fortify the regions infrastructure against future natural disasters. The New York Building Congress, which set out its own set of recommendations in our 2013 report, pledges its assistance in ensuring swift implementation of the Governors proposals.
The Governors commitment to invest in transforming LaGuardia Central Terminal and JFK Air Cargo into first class facilities addresses a top priority of the business community and will do much to stimulate job creation and additional private investment in the state, said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
Steve Morgan from NY Roadway Improvement Coalition said, The New York Roadway Infrastructure Coalition applauds the Governor for his action implementing the Scour Critical Bridge program. At a time when New Yorks bridges are under stress due to age and wear and tear the severe storms in the past few years have accelerated the need to take action. The program the Governor announced is addressing a critical component of our states transportation system.
Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York said, The General Contractors Association of New York applauds Governor Cuomo for recognizing in his State of the State address the importance of expanding our public transportation system and bringing our aging airports up to 21st century standards. We commend the Governor's leadership on advancing projects that are critical to New Yorkers' mobility and the economic development of New York State."
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership: Modernizing New Yorks energy infrastructure is critical to the resurgence of our regional and state economy. Governor Cuomos bold initiatives to streamline project approvals for transmission projects in existing rights of way dovetail with his Energy Highway blueprint to stimulate the investment that is necessary to develop an energy infrastructure for the 21st Century.
Statement from the Global Gateway Alliance Board Members:
"For decades, New York City airport modernization has been squeezed out by budget shortfalls and other infrastructure projects. Today, Governor Cuomo is taking our airports out of the 'middle seat' and placing them on the top of the priorities list. New York airports are vital to our region's economy and brand, but they have gone from the best in the nation to the worst on survey after survey. The Governor is right to put his Administration's energy and focus behind fixing this problem. The Global Gateway Alliance business, labor, academia and government coalition was formed to address exactly the problems Governor Cuomo highlighted today and to partner with his Administration to help. We're thrilled our mantle is being taken up at the highest levels and we look forward to working with the Governor and his team to make the vision of world-class airports a reality for our world-class city."
Press release from the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board:
Governor Cuomos Renewable Heat NY Biomass Heating Initiative, announced by his office today, is a pioneering policy that will open up new markets for the forest product industry, which is a vital part of the upstate New York economy, while also providing critical help for area residents and businesses to lower their energy costs with a new renewable heat source.
Renewable Heat NY will be the catalyst for the development of a renewable, efficient heating source based on fuel from low-grade wood harvested from local forests. By showing his support for thermal bio-mass, especially wood pellets, Governor Cuomo has taken the lead in promoting a heating source that will create new forestry, pellet manufacturing and related secondary jobs in the heavily forested Adirondack region. Fuel oil is now the primary heating fuel used by most municipalities, homes and businesses in the Adirondacks. Wood pellet fuel costs 40%-50% less than fuel oil. The money spent for pellet fuel will be retained in the local economy, where the wood is grown, and the pellets are manufactured. It will also help the Adirondack region regainits economic independence.
According to the four-state Northern Forest Center, 100% of the money spent on biomass fuel will stay in the region. This wealth retention can only help our communities. Taxpayers will see a benefit from this program in the reduced heating costs of government buildings. Well thought-out funding streams to help grow this industry in New York will make this state stronger. This program, Renewable Heat New York, has the potential to revitalize our communities by creating living wage jobs and entry level jobs for our children.
Press release from Statement from Parks & Trails New York on Governor Cuomos 2014 State of the State Address
ALBANY, N.Y. In today's State of the State address, Governor Cuomo reinforced his commitment to the revitalization of New Yorks world-class state park system. We applaud the Governors continued investment in these treasured landscapes and cultural landmarks for New Yorkers today and for future generations.
Over the past two years, with the States commitment of over $200 million for park restoration, Governor Cuomo has made parks an integral part of his efforts to rebuild the states infrastructure and economy. His leadership reflects his recognition of the important role parks play in local economic growth, in protecting important natural areas, and in providing affordable and healthy recreational opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors, alike.
Sustained investment in the restoration of New Yorks park system will enable the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to continue its progress in addressing the estimated $1 billion backlog of infrastructure needs and critical safety repairs, breathing new life into the park system.
We also commend the Governors plan to bring parks into the twenty-first century through his e-Business strategy, employing new technologies for common park procedures such as camping reservations and vehicle entrances. Similarly, mobile apps and enhanced guides and maps will encourage new generations of New Yorkers to visit and experience our 179 parks and 35 historic sites and spur continued growth in visitation. A lifetime State Parks Empire Passport will allow New Yorkers easier access to the natural and historic treasures in their backyards.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, Governor Cuomos focus on upstate New York is clearer than ever and I thank him for the commitment he has shown to strengthening Erie County and Western New York. He is following through on the promise of the Buffalo Billion, with the proposed genomic medicine center and investments in advanced technology and manufacturing at Riverbend now poised to become realities. The transformation of Erie Countys economy is underway as new industries, new jobs, and new attitudes are reshaping our community. The Governors record of success spoke for itself during his address, with examples both in Erie County and across New York State. His leadership in Albany is having a profound positive impact in Erie County, and I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Council to implement the ideas outlined in the State of the State address.
Governor Cuomos 2014 State of the State address laid out a promising agenda to continue moving Buffalo forward, said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. With $2.2 billion in new economic development activity underway in Buffalo the most weve seen in decades - his proposal to locate a genomic center will attract additional life science companies and hundreds of new jobs. Governor Cuomos plan to provide $2 billion in tax relief is another particularly important item that supports continued economic growth and further job creation by lowering costs for city residents and business owners. The major investments in education that the Governor outlined are also going to have a positive impact in Buffalo, ensuring that school facilities are improved with the latest technology, the best and brightest teachers are rewarded for their hard work, while at the same time providing scholarships to the top 10% percent of graduates who pursue careers in STEM fields to attend SUNY and CUNY institutions. I applaud the Governor for presenting this bold vision for a better New York.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, Governor Cuomo's address provided both a look back at the many accomplishments of the past year and a preview of priorities and initiatives for 2014. From initiatives to reduce the state's tax burden to an effort to fund educational innovation through a bond referendum, the Governor continues to offer bold and imaginative solutions to the State's most pressing problems. I was particularly impressed with his unflagging commitment to upstate economic development, his forceful defense of his initiative on ethics reform, and his timely reminder to the Legislature that the time to pass the Women's' Equality Act is now.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi stated, The Governors State of the State Address hit the right overall tone and was spot on with a number of key issues. First, the speech was a good reminder that as far as we have come in the past few years in turning our State around, overall, the job is certainly not finished. Second, the Governor specifically recognized there is still much that needs to be done to streamline the delivery of government services at all levels. His understanding that the State can and must do more to help with collaborations, shared services and consolidations is extremely important and significant. Lastly, I was particularly heartened by the Governors strong recognition and drive to rebuild the States education system and to end the devastating inequities that plague our schools and communities. Its not just about enhanced education to address the social ills that plague us, but improved education, at all levels, is the most important and valuable tool that we have at our disposal for the continued rebuilding of our local and State economies.
Larkin Development Group Managing Partner and Western New York Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Howard Zemsky said, The governor's Buffalo Billion commitment focuses on creating transformative next-generation jobs and industries in Western New York, and his commitment to genomic medicine speaks directly to our regional strategy for growth by leveraging the assets of our local institutions.
University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said, This important effort draws on many of our greatest assets as a premier research university including our outstanding faculty, our reputation as a powerhouse in life sciences research and our considerable strength in supercomputing and medical information technology. With this trifecta of resources, UB is an ideal partner to transform medical diagnosis and treatment.
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, Governor Cuomo should be applauded for his attention to job creation and property tax relief, two issues that are vitally important for taxpayers in our County and across the entire State. While weve yet to hear all the details involved, I am excited about the Governors proposal to extend tax relief to Upstate manufacturers, many of whom drive our economy forward every day. I also appreciate the Governors proposal for increased government consolidation, as Monroe County has long been a State-wide leader in establishing shared-service agreements to better protect local taxpayers. Monroe County will continue to analyze and weigh the impact of all the Governors proposals as more details are available in the days to come.
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, [T]he NY Youth Works Program is specifically designed to help city youth find employment -- which is especially needed in Rochester, where 46% of youth live below the poverty line. I look forward to working with the Governor's staff and the State Labor Department to make this program a success in Rochester. I am also encouraged by the Governor's proposal to reduce the corporate tax on Upstate manufacturers to zero. This is very good news, especially for Rochester's tooling and machining industries. The SUNY STEM scholarship fund will also help us close the skills deficiencies gap that has been identified as one of our major barriers to increased employment and industry sector growth. I look forward to working with our SUNY partners, our business partners and the City School District to make sure that our students are positioned to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity. A zero percent tax rate, progress towards closing the skills gap and an opportunity to showcase the finest that Rochester has to offer to potential new investors from overseas will help us attract new capital, new growth and new jobs.
Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO Sandy Parker said, "We were encouraged earlier this week when Governor Cuomo announced his tax relief plan for upstate employers. Today's State of the State address reaffirmed his commitment to creating a better climate for New York State businesses. In addition to high taxes, burdensome state regulations also create a drag on the ability of New York employers to grow and create jobs. Rochester Business Alliance is hopeful that the joint executive-legislative commission to reduce barriers on businesses finds ways to improve New York's regulatory environment. As Governor Cuomo said in his address, 'It's time to stop talking about it and actually get it done.' RBA stands ready to work with the commission. The Finger Lakes region also looks forward to the opportunity to compete for the next round of Regional Economic Development Council funding to bring more jobs and resources to the area."
Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni said, In the Governors State of the State address, he challenged local governments to find ways to achieve savings for taxpayers and provided welcome and reasonable incentives that we are ready to meet. Working families, property owners and corporations will experience tax relief while local governments continue to look for ways to share services and reduce costs.
Irondequoit Supervisor Adam Bello said, "Governor Cuomo's agenda for 2014 is a promising one for Irondequoit. His plan to grow the economy with more than $2 billion in tax cuts and reform proposals is one that will make New York more affordable for millions of homeowners and it will help businesses throughout the region prosper and create jobs. I commend the Governor for presenting this bold plan to move New York state forward."
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston said, Since I took office, my pledge has been to keep taxes as low as possible. Here in Broome County, we've tightened our belts and stayed well below the 2% Tax Cap. I'm encouraged that the Governor is also working to ease the burden on taxpayers as much as possible through the tax reform initiatives outlined in todays speech.
Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano said, The Governor, in his State of the State message mapped out a plan to continue his efforts to rejuvenate NYS. As with any plan it will demand action with everyone working together. The City of Norwich and I are ready to join the Governor's team to move this great State forward.
Oneida Mayor A. Max Smith said, "Governor Cuomos agenda continues to move our State in a positive direction, providing solid strategies to further grow our economy and better position New York to compete for business from around the world. Following the devastating floods that hit our community last summer, Im especially encouraged by the Governors proposed Emergency Preparedness College that will train the next generation of first responders to protect our residents from future storms. I applaud the Governor for his commitment to uniting New York as one New York and welcome the Governor's new, comprehensive measures designed to restore New York as the Empire State. am pleased and proud to support Governor Cuomo he continues to demonstrate that he understands the problems we face as an upstate community and he is committed to finding solutions."
Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said, I am confident that 2014 is going to be another great year under the leadership of Governor Cuomo. He has laid out another exciting agenda with exciting new ideas and with his past track record of accomplishments, there is no doubt he will see it through. His vision for the state will benefit businesses, residents, tourists and New York's future for many years to come and will be proud to work with him to make it a reality.
DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko said, I commend Governor Cuomo for his efforts to grow our economy and create new jobs while proposing sensible tax relief to businesses and property owners. While we have had great achievements over the last few years, we need to continue working hard in 2014 to cut taxes that will create even more jobs and economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues and Governor Cuomo this year to build on what weve already achieved together and make New York State a better place for all New Yorkers.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said, With Governor Cuomo at the helm, New York is taking positive steps in the right direction. The Governor set forth an agenda that is bold, yet achievable. I commend the Governor for his unwavering commitment to Oneida County, our region and the State.
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, Today the Governor once again delivered on his vision of sensible tax cuts, aggressive job growth programs, consolidation of services and economic development geared towards Upstate. Over the past three years, the Governor has consistently demonstrated his understanding of the issues facing Upstate and has taken bold action. I applaud the Governor and look forward to working with his Administration to continue the momentum of economic growth and opportunity for the residents of Utica and New Yorkers as a whole.
Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Hoffman said, The reduction of the tax burden to New Yorkers and for potential businesses is critical to make our state competitive with other states for economic development. Many of Governor Cuomo's proposals for 2014 have merit and should take us in that direction. I was pleased to see the recognition of upstate New York for its both its challenges and what is has to offer in moving New York State back to the leadership role we used to have.
The reduction of the state's corporate tax rate to a level not seen since 1968 is another welcome step in the right direction," said Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "But even more remarkable is the proposed elimination of state corporate taxes on all Upstate manufacturers. That means a rate of zero. This will not only support the future of our existing manufacturing base, always struggling to remain globally competitive, but will provide a powerful economic-development marketing tool.
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, Governor Cuomo's State of the State hit many high points but there are three issues that stand out to me. It's 2014. The fact that women are still not treated equally is shameful. They are treated better but better is not good enough. New York needs the Women's Equality Act. Second, veterans have sacrificed to serve this country. The plan to hold a Veterans and Military Summit to see how we can serve them better is outstanding. And the proposal to award more state contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses is commendable. Third, consolidation and shared services is something my administration has been advocating since day one. By tying in financial incentives for municipalities to implement shared services and consolidate, governments have a unique opportunity to improve those services and to save taxpayer dollars."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, Governor Cuomo and I share the concern that property taxes in New York have become unaffordable for both residents and businesses. I applaud the Governors initiatives to jumpstart local economies by helping distressed property owners and making Albany and all of New York competitive again. I look forward to working with the Governor on progressive new ideas to help Albany and all upstate cities reach their full potential through innovation and fiscal discipline.
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia said, "Upstate, there is a feeling that our best days are ahead of us, thanks to the leadership and vision of Governor Cuomo. Economies across the Upstate are reenergized, those in our communities are facing lower taxes and entrepreneurs are deciding on the Empire State to do business. Together, we can ensure that New York is more affordable for families, more supportive of entrepreneurs and provides equal rights and opportunity for all."
Press release from Anthony Jasenski, Sr., Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature:
(Schenectady, NY) Schenectady County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski praised Governor Andrew Cuomo for focusing on the Upstate economy in his State-of-the-State address, including breaking down barriers for business growth, creating jobs, increasing shared services among municipalities, and providing property tax relief.
Governor Cuomo is right to focus on the Upstate economy. Schenectady County has a history of increased economic development and shared services that are creating jobs and saving our taxpayers money. Our unified economic development efforts, including the revitalization of Downtown around Proctors and our arts and entertainment district, and our streamlining of County government by working together with our local municipalities, have well positioned Schenectady County for continued growth.
We have come a long way in Schenectady County and New York State, but there is still more to be done. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo this year as I begin my journey as the new Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. I will remain open to new ideas, look to think outside the box, and always remember that there is more that unites all of us as New Yorkers than divides us. Working together I know that Schenectady County will continue to be a leader in the upstate economy.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said, Governor Cuomo has laid out an ambitious agenda for our state. My administration will continue to work with the Governors team to promote economic development, create jobs, and ensure that Orange County remains a great place to work and raise a family. In particular, I was pleased to see that Governor Cuomo will continue to work in support of more jobs for our veterans. The Governor also raised the alarming situation at the Pine Bush School District, and I note that we share the goal of fighting religious intolerance while promoting the values Orange County truly stands for, values which I have consistently and vocally placed at the center of my administration.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, In just three years, Governor Cuomo has ushered in a new spirit of bipartisanship that is delivering real results for all New Yorkers in the form of lower taxes, new jobs and a focus on improving education. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo to build on the successes of the last three years and deliver on the promise of a new New York.
Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester said, The Business Council support serious efforts to reduce the tax burden on New York businesses and property owners and stands ready to work with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers on this very important priority. Whether its lowering corporate, income, estate, property and energy taxes, reducing regulatory barriers on businesses, addressing state mandated costs on local governments, modernizing our infrastructure or investing in innovative businesses, achieving these goals must be a priority in the state Capitol so that businesses all across New York can expand, thrive and succeed in the years to come.
Business Council of Westchester release:
WHITE PLAINS, NY (January 8 2014) Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester (BCW), was in Albany for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomos 2014 State of the State Address. Gordon, a member of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, said she is encouraged by the Governors efforts to make New York State more business-friendly by cutting taxes, investing in workforce development particularly his proposals for women and minority owned businesses, disabled veterans and youth -- and for his continued work with the Regional Economic Development Councils.
The Business Council support serious efforts to reduce the tax burden on New York businesses and property owners and stands ready to work with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers on this very important priority, Gordon said. Whether its lowering corporate, income, estate, property and energy taxes, reducing regulatory barriers on businesses, addressing state mandated costs on local governments, modernizing our infrastructure or investing in innovative businesses, achieving these goals must be a priority in the state Capitol so that businesses all across New York can expand, thrive and succeed in the years to come.
The BCW is also pleased to see that the Governor tapped John Mack, formerly of Morgan Stanley, to help New York State become more competitive in the global marketplace as well as former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as a special advisor on emergency preparedness and homeland security. With these two leaders working on very important issues, New York and its business community will be well-served.
Press release from Westchester County Legislators Catherine Borgia, Alfreda Williams, Mary Jane Shimsky, and Ken Jenkins
Albany, NY Four Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL)Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) and Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers)commended Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his pledge to further tax relief for New Yorks residents and business owners while also continuing to bolster the states economy, as detailed in his State of the State address today.
Governor Cuomo has an enduring vision of a better New York, where living here is more affordable to working families and seniors wanting to age in place, along with young professionals and new residents wanting to move up the economic ladder, said Borgia. His focus on creating greater prosperity across the state has been the cornerstone of his efforts since taking office, and it is obvious that he is continuing in this direction. I applaud his leadership and resolve.
Borgia and her three BOL colleagues, all in attendance at Governor Cuomos address today, heartily approved of his $2 billion plan to freeze property taxes for two years and then limit property taxes to annual household incomes. This proposal was announced along with a number of reductions in business taxes for companies, including upstate manufacturing firms. Also mentioned by Governor Cuomo were the new tax-free zones near college campuses, a program that was approved by the Legislature and went into effect on January 1; and the 20% increase in Minority and Womens Business Enterprises (MWBE) contracts across the state in the past year, an ongoing initiative that will involve even more MWBEs this year. Governor Cuomos continuing focus on critical infrastructure needs, like the new Tappan Zee bridge project, is helping to spur job creation as well, Borgia noted.
The four Democratic legislators also said they were pleased that Governor Cuomo proposed in his address to fight property tax increases through the consolidation and sharing of services among municipalities, school districts and government-related agencies.
The smart way to save money now for taxpayers is to look for ways to reduce the redundant delivery of services and programs across our communities, said Jenkins. In Westchester, we have been working hard to identify and implement ways to do this, and I appreciate knowing how important the Governor views this work. Governor Cuomos dedicated efforts at making New York the nations leader in education drew high praise from the three legislators as well. Employing new technologies in the classroom, fighting disparities in school resources and providing full-day Pre-Kindergarten statewide were initiatives mentioned in todays address that show our governor is serious about giving our youth the learning and support they need to better themselvesand our communities, said Williams.
Governor Cuomos grand vision for a better New York is only matched by his big heart for those residents in need and wanting to turn their lives around, remarked Shimsky, noting that the governors address also promised job creation for former convicts to reduce recidivism and a renewed pledge to pass the Womens Equality Act.
NEW YORK CITY
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "I thought it was a tremendous roadmap for the future. There was a passion in his voice on protecting the rights of women, which I agree with 100% and I appreciated the fact that the Governor made that a focal point of the speech. We need to come back and pass that long overdue legislation."
Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said, More jobs, lower property taxes, reducing burdens on businesses, increasing technology in our schools and more help for people impacted by Sandy -- all of these endeavors of Governor Cuomo are welcomed news to New Yorkers. I applaud the Governor and look forward to working with him on these issues.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo committed his office to bringing four new Metro North stations to the Bronx in his State of the State Address today. Governor Cuomo understands that new Metro North options in Co-op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point will not only make our regions transportation system stronger, it will also open up our borough and its residents to new economic opportunities. The East Bronx Metro North Expansion proposal is a transformative plan, and I commend Governor Cuomo for moving this plan forward as part of his own agenda. On behalf of the 1.4 million people of my borough, we thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this much needed transportation plan.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, I commend Governor Cuomo for putting forth plans that cut taxes and reduce the size of government. These proposals complement my administrations success in creating jobs by cutting taxes. To truly rebuild this Empire State and improve our economy, municipalities throughout New York must join the Governor and I in protecting taxpayers through efficiencies and public-private partnerships.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "In the last three years, Governor Cuomo has proved to be a committed partner to Suffolk County. He recognizes that high property taxes remain a high burden on our homeowners and that we need to continue to attract new businesses to our region. His State of the State agenda will address just that and continue to push New York on a path to economic growth. From tax relief to exciting proposals for our education system to rebuilding our communities after Sandy, the Governor's agenda for this year is full of promising initiatives. I applaud his vision and offer any support to push it forward."
Long Beach City Council President Scott J. Mandel said, "Today, Governor Cuomo outlined an impressive plan to continue moving New York forward. With a focus on our most pressing issues like economic development, tax relief, storm resiliency, and women's equality, the Governor's State of the State address is a promising start to 2014. I applaud Governor Cuomo for continuing to put the people first as he works to propel our economy and make New York more fair for all."
Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said, "Governor Cuomo's agenda for 2014 is a highly encouraging blueprint to build a better New York. With a commitment to making our infrastructure and communities more storm resilient, a focus on supporting businesses that create jobs, and working together to build back strong, smarter, and safer, the Governor's plan outlined in his State of the State is another step forward for New York's families and businesses."
DuWayne Gregory, Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, said, "The transformation that has taken place in the State of New York under the direction of Governor Cuomo is nothing short of astonishing, said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. The results of the Governor's first three years in office can now be seen all over New York, from cranes springing up in Buffalo to millions of new tourists visiting every region of the State. In his message yesterday, the Governor laid out an ambitious plan about where he wants to lead this state in the coming year, and if the past three years are any indication, 2014 will go down as one of the most productive years ever for the Empire State."
Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said In the last three years, under Governor's Cuomo leadership, we have transformed the state from a place of confusion and high taxes, to one that is business friendly and poised for economic growth. Here in Nassau, the Governor recognizes there is more to do. His State of the State agenda proposes important improvements to provide tax relief for our property owners and businesses, as well as a forward thinking plan to make our schools more modern and our infrastructure more resilient for years to come. His plan is comprehensive and touches all aspects of the lives of New Yorkers, and I commend him.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said, Governor Cuomo has recently announced details of a more than $2 billion tax relief proposal. It is my pleasure to stand in support of the Governors proposal as this is designed to grow our economy and to offer help to our taxpayers. As the Supervisor of the Town of Riverhead, I appreciate Governor Cuomos commitment to tax
reform. The Governors efforts of providing property tax relief for New York homeowners as well as businesses can enhance the State's economic competitiveness thereby increasing economic development opportunities right here in the Town of Riverhead. This can attract new businesses to our town and help grow existing ones by creating more jobs for our residents. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo to help lower taxes for New Yorkers and to build a more friendly business climate for our local job creators.
Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said "The plan laid out in Governor Cuomo's State of the State address is an exciting one for Babylon Township. Growing the economy continues to be one of my highest priorities, and the Governor's tax relief package - which proposes more than $2 billion in tax cuts, credits, and reforms - will go a long way to saving our residents money, growing our local businesses and ultimately creating jobs. On top of this responsible fiscal reform, the Governor has proposed a variety of measures to strengthen our infrastructure in the face of extreme weather, bring our schools to the cutting edge with technology and high-quality educators, and protect women's rights throughout society. All of these are items that will benefit the Babylon community, and I commend the Governor for his proactive approach to creating a safer, stronger, and more fair New York."
"The Governor's tax relief proposals will benefit families and businesses on Long Island and throughout the state." said Kevin Law, President and CEO, Long Island Association