Updated 10/23/2012 04:58 PM
Governor Cuomo takes economic development tour
Governor Cuomo was in the Capital Region Tuesday to check on several projects awarded funding through the state's Regional Economic Development Council Program. Our Solomon Syed went along for the tour and joins us now with more.
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CAPITAL REGION -- Governor Cuomo hitched a ride through the Capital Region Tuesday and checked up on several projects that received big chunks of state money - up to $2.5 million in regional economic development funds.
"There was a lot of energy, a lot of progress, so I'm pleased to be a part of it," Cuomo said.
The governor got a look at an RPI research lab, then paid a visit to a bio-materials packaging company in Green Island before surveying a revitalization project at Kiernan Plaza, which could create 150 well-paying, high-tech jobs.
Capital Region Economic Development Council Co-Chair James Barba said, "Never before have I seen an initiative with as much promise, literally, as much promise."
Yet despite working to shed its anti-business label through the development councils and tax relief, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that in the year 2010, New York still had the highest state and local taxes in the country. But Governor Cuomo says things are getting better.
He said, "Come to New York; we have the lowest tax rates we've had in 58 years. That was step one. Step two, figure out how to grow these regional economies."
The governor says it's up to the council to figure out what works best for the Capital Region, whether the focus remains on technology or shifts to tourism. The long-awaited Albany Convention Center has yet to receive state funding.
When asked if he thinks an Albany Convention Center could fit in at some point, Cuomo replied, "Basically we defer to the region. I'm not going to sit here in Albany, at the Capitol building, and say this is what a city should do, this is what a county should do."
Now of the 88 projects that did receive funding, 80 percent are already underway, and 90 percent are running on time. It gives you an idea of why the governor was pleased with what he saw on Tuesday.