The Republican served as governor of New York from 1995 to 2006. In a visit to Lake Placid with GOP congressional candidate Matt Doheny, Pataki said New York's economy is still recovering too slowly.
And he said cutting taxes and reducing the size of government would help.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo has enjoyed high approval ratings since he was swept into office nearly two years ago. Asked if he thinks the governor is doing a good job, Pataki declined to address Cuomo directly.
Instead, he said more needs to be done to strengthen the state’s economy.
“I’m proud to be a New Yorker, and I want to see us thrive as a state,” Pataki said. “I do think we need to have a stronger economy. I do think that taxes are too high across the board, whether it’s property taxes or income taxes in this state. And I hope that we can see some significant reforms to reduce the size and the cost of government, not just for today but for future generations so that we can start outgrowing the nation and creating the jobs particularly the young people here need.”
Pataki has long championed conservation of state land in the Adirondack Park. By the end of his 12 years as governor, he had met his goal of protecting a million acres from development, with the state buying easements or full title.
Pataki did not want to discuss the specifics of the state’s plan to acquire 69,000 acres of former Finch timberlands currently owned by The Nature Conservancy. But he did say that when land deals are done with the right balance, everyone benefits.
“I’m all for preserving open space,” Pataki said. “It has to be done by consensus, and it has to be done in a way that doesn’t hurt, but that helps the economy here in the North Country. And I think that can be done. The specifics of any deal depend on the terms of the deal and whether or not it’s going to allow people to continue to have recreational opportunities and continue to have economic opportunities. ... I’m proud of what we did to achieve that balance to both grow the economy in the North Country and to preserve open space for future generations. I know they’re not incompatible. If done right, they can be synergistic.”
During his visit, Pataki repeatedly called Lake Placid and the Adirondacks “home,” and he owns a seasonal home in the Champlain Valley town of Essex.