Business Perks, Education Proposals Highlight Gov Cuomo's 2014 Agenda
Upstate New York’s economy figured heavily into Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday.
Cuomo reiterated one of the key parts of his tax rebate plan released earlier in the week.
“Let’s go to the upstate manufacturers, because we need manufacturing jobs in Upstate New York, and let’s cut the corporate tax rate in Upstate New York to zero, all across Upstate...period.”
Syracuse Assembly Member Bill Magnarelli welcomes the approach.
“If you’re lowering taxes on business hopefully that’s going to stimulate the creation of new jobs in the area and help get our economy out of the doldrums where it sits at the moment.”
Magnarelli calls the governor’s plan “phenomenal” for upstate manufacturers. Senate finance committee chair John Defrancisco of Syracuse finds it interesting how many of Cuomo’s ideas sound similar to what’s been discussed in…and recommended by the senate in recent months…
“I’m sure the same people that testified before our hearing, or people with similar feelings, were being heard by the governor’s commission with Governor Pataki and Karl McCall on tax reforms the Governor’s office wanted to pursue. So you hear the same things from the same people long enough, I think it’s finally going to get done.”
DeFrancisco says businesses need to make money through lower taxes and energy costs before they can create jobs that in turn, generate tax revenue. But advocates for education and the poor say this approach threatens much-needed revenue for schools, and widens the income divide between the state’s wealthiest and poorest residents.
MORE PRE-K AND BETTER TECHNOLOGY FOR SCHOOLS
Governor Cuomo says he wants New York’s classrooms to be the most high tech in the country. Education was another area Cuomo focused on in his third State of the State address Wednesday. The governor says the disparity from one district to another is unacceptable.
“There are some schools where they have sophisticated computer systems on the first grade. There are some schools where the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that you walk through on the way to the classroom and that is just wrong in the State of New York.”
Cuomo wants to put a $2 billion bond referendum on the ballot in November to upgrade classrooms. The money would be used for everything from laptops and tablets to high speed broadband. Syracuse-area assembly member Bill Magnarelli thinks the statewide referendum is a good approach…
"He made it very clear that some school districts have these things and others don’t and it’s important that all children are given the same kind of technology advances in the equipment that’s used in schools throughout the state.”
Cuomo’s education plan also calls for the expansion of universal pre-K, but he didn’t offer a way to pay for it. In addition, the governor proposed offering free tuition to high school seniors to study science and engineering at a state university and stay in New York to work after graduation.
OTHER REACTIONS TO ELEMENTS OF THE GOVERNOR'S AGENDA
The Head of Centerstate CEO in Syracuse called the tax plan ‘refreshing’…Rob Simpson heard reforms and proposal that can move forward the business climate and economy. He shares the Governor’s concern over the layers of government…but likes to hear about a fourth round of regional economic development grants.
The Adirondack Council is giving Cuomo mixed marks…liking suggestions to improve rural infrastructure and tourism. But Executive Director Willie Janeway didn’t hear much about preserving the environment. The group seeks 200 (M) million dollars for the environmental protection fund.
And…SUNY Cortland Graduate Abby Albright was featured in the state of the state address as an example of Cuomo’s Master Teacher program. The Current Cortland Middle School math teacher mentors others and helps with professional development to produce outstanding teachers.
Education advocates are hearing a mixed message from the Governor. The Alliance for Quality Education likes the goal of Universal Pre-K…but doesn’t want Albany in the way of New York City’s plan to get all 4-year-olds in school. The group also says the technology bond act for schools could help…but doesn’t replace lagging state aid that under Cuomo A-Q-E charges has widened the gap between rich and poor schools.
And a story we reported two months back…the Raise the Age Campaign welcomes Cuomo’s commission on juveniles in the criminal system to quickly develop a fair law to treat children like children. The group’s trying to change the practice of treating 16- and 17-year-olds like adults, even for misdemeanors. 48 other states keep most of those cases in family court, following research about brain development and ill effects of youth in detention facilities.
Finally the Oneida Nation was mentioned in the address, thanked for working out agreements on land claims, tax and casino issues after decades of disagreement and dispute.