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Confidence in this state (from) outside has just exploded.

Clinton full of praise for Cuomo, NY

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Former President Bill Clinton said confidence in New York has "exploded" as he delivered a pep-talk keynote speech to an economic development conference in Albany today.

The former president was brought to Albany by his former protege, now Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to discuss economic strategies with Cuomo's new regional economic development councils.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

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Clinton urged New York to keep looking to the future by starting with a history lesson. "To put this in a larger context," he said, "If you had asked me to put in a sentence what got the United States into this trouble, it’s what I would say it’s what’s got every major wealthy civilization  in trouble since the beginning of recorded history. We rested on our laurels and got too interested in the present and lost our commitment to the future.

No one is blameless in that, he said. And he argued that the way back requires public-private partnerships.  Government is not the problem: "There’s not a single example on the planet of a successful country with a growing income and a growing job base without a strong economy and an effective  government working together on a coordinated economic strategy to create shared prosperity—there just isn’t,” he said.

The former two-term Democrat was full of praise for his former HUD Secretary, Andrew Cuomo, and the “important” work ahead of the regional councils. He said it's a matter of asking the right questions:  What are our problems. What are our assets? How much government do we need? And how do we pay for it? And if we have too much, how do we get rid of it without hurting people?

That's what Cuomo and the legisalture did this spring, in its bipartisan effort to adopt a budget on time that closed a multi billion dollar deficit. "I can't tell you how important I think it is," Clinton said, adding, ”I travel all over America and all over the world, and the confidence people have in New York outside this state has exploded, just because the government did its job... They showed up, passed a budget on time and didn't raise taxes. It's amazing!" he said.

The  10 Regional Economic Development Councils are competing for $200 million in funding and tax incentives. He urged the members gathered for the daylong conference not to "bellyache'' about foreign competition. This is still the biggest economy on the planet, he said, and the most entrepreneurial one.

"New York can rise again,'' Clinton said. "What we need is to suit up and win again.You just got to figure out what you need to do to win for the people you came here to work for, and as long as you keep your head in the right place, and look at the facts, and remember that conflict may be great politics and interesting new coverage, but cooperation wins the day."

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