Upstate GOP Lawmakers React To Governor Cuomo’s Speech

January 21, 2015

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his 2015 State of the State speech on Wednesday afternoon.  As of this posting, the text of the governor’s speech has not been released as of yet, as soon as it is, we will post it in it’s entirety.

Congressman Tom Reed’s Reaction:

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Congressman Tom Reed (R, Corning) was skeptical.  “Governor Cuomo says he cares about Upstate New Yorkers,” said Reed.  “I want to believe that rhetoric, but his recent actions show different.  (In) December 2014, Gov. Cuomo told farmers and families of Western New York that economic opportunity and jobs were not his priorities for us.  Rather, King Cuomo caved to downstate special interests and closed any possibility of New York leading the nation, in what even President Obama has called the ‘American energy renaissance.’ Because of his unilateral decision, New Yorkers cannot develop their mineral rights and as a result Southern Tier families and communities have suddenly lost valuable income streaming their own property. I care for those family farmers and taxpayers and that is why I will lead a charge in Congress to ensure those individuals have the opportunity to be justly compensated for their losses.

Reed quoted Woodhull farmer Neil Vitale, the Vice President of the Steuben County Land Owners Coalition, who attended the State of the Union in Washington.   “‘I’ve talked with Tom about what I’ve seen in this area, how the farmers have gone out of business, the unemployment rates being so high, and how young people can’t find a job in this area that can support a family.’ Vitale said. “The Governor must understand that we need these opportunities.’”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano’s Reaction:

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Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) was not pleased with the state of the state presentation.  “Not good enough on tax, regulatory, and mandate relief and local infrastructure needs,” Palmesano said.  “The governor discussed many different proposals today. Although they may be well intentioned, I believe he missed the mark on a number of fronts, including not being bold or aggressive enough in fostering a better business climate for job creation in upstate New York, not addressing the true cost drivers that continue to drive up local property taxes and a blatant disregard for improving the roads and bridges in our upstate local communities while pouring billions of dollars into infrastructure needs downstate.  Palmesano expressed his dislike of the governor’s upstate competition.  “Another upstate competition that simply picks winners and losers does not signal confidence to the business community and the very people we want and need to locate, grow and keep a business here.”   Palmesano also said that he was “incredibly disappointed” in the governor’s infrastructure plans.  “Particularly his failure to address the local needs of fixing our roads and bridges in our local counties, cities, towns and villages. His plan was clearly focused on downstate. There should be an equitable distribution of these funds to ensure that the crumbling infrastructure in our local upstate communities are addressed like he proposed for those downstate,” said Palmesano.

Senator Tom O’Mara’s Reaction:

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State Senator Tom O’Mara (R, Big Flats) called Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2015-2016 state budget “not aggressive enough on creating Southern Tier jobs.”

“New York government needs to stay focused, more than anything else, on taking action after action after action on Upstate manufacturing job growth and eliminating the crushing burdens of mandates, regulations and taxes. It begins and ends with addressing these priorities,” said O’Mara. The governor’s blueprint is not aggressive enough on these priorities, and it’s not aggressive enough on creating Southern Tier jobs. He puts the words ‘Southern Tier’ in front of a few initiatives, but that’s window dressing. ”

Senator Cathy Young’s Reaction:

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Senator Cathy Young (R, Allegany County) also disliked the idea of having winners and losers, as a result of the governor’s upstate competition. “There shouldn’t be winners and losers when it comes to job growth,” Young stated.  Young saw some positives, saying that she was happy to hear the Governor speak about small business tax relief and expansion of broadband in rural areas .  “Both of the initiatives will bring us more opportunities,” said Sen. Young.  “Distribution of economic development funds must benefit rural areas to ensure that every region of the state gets the attention it needs and deserves.”  Senator Young said that one of the State Senate’s top priorities will be to finally eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which she called “a fiscal gimmick that was instituted by Senate Democrats and has put an unbearable financial hit on our school districts.”

Assemblyman Joe Giglio’s Reaction:

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Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R, Allegany, Steuben Counties) wanted more talk about mandate relief and dropping the gap elimination adjustment.  “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we should not develop policies or a budget based on an ‘us versus them’ mentality,” Giglio said.  “Instead of blaming our local governments, counties, and school districts for high property taxes, the Governor should work with the Legislature to deliver our promise of mandate relief.

Giglio called the Gap Elimination Adjustment a type of “reverse-psychology formula”, that Giglio says was inserted into the school aid formula that reduced State aid to schools and closed the State’s budget gap.  “The formula was a mistake from the beginning that was supposed to be eliminated long ago. Our school districts deserve to finally have their aid levels restored to current year, and to remove the silly Gap Elimination Adjustment from the school aid formula.”