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A slide from Governor Cuomo's State of the State presentation.
A slide from Governor Cuomo's State of the State presentation.

Cuomo proposes his "most ambitious agenda"

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Gov. Cuomo laid out a challenging year for New York in his State of the State speech Wednesday.

The bullet points are many and varied, from raising the minimum wage, to money for the "clean economy," a 10-point Women's Equality Act, "destination resort casinos", a regional tourism competition, an Adirondack whitewater competition, a tough assault weapons ban, incentives for teachers and for schools to provide more time in the classroom.

Then there was emergency preparedness, worker's comp, fairness in the justice system, housing, climate change.

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Governor Cuomo dedicated more than ten minutes of his State of the State message to the Upstate economy.

When you look at the job growth in Upstate New York frankly it is sad and it is troubling.  The nation’s growth led Upstate New York’s growth.  That is just unacceptable.

Cuomo described a new plan to market Upstate New York to tourists and manufacturers.  He said county tourism boards would compete in a $5 million "advertising competition" based on their ability to design the best regional marketing package.  And he urged the legislature to allow three casinos to be built Upstate.

Democratic Assemblywoman Addie Russell praised Cuomo for his attention to the Upstate economy, especially the focus on tourism.

Doing better with the resources we have to really get the word out about the wonderful attractions and natural beauty that the state has to offer.

Governor Cuomo made almost no mention of agriculture by name.  But he did praise New York products, from yogurt to beer and wines.  Russell says Cuomo understands the value of New York’s farms.

You can’t produce yogurt without dairy farmers.  You can’t produce wine without grapes being grown here in New York State, so you don’t need to say agriculture.  A lot of Upstate New York manufacturing is agriculture.  I think he gets that.

Republican Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush also says he appreciated Governor Cuomo’s focus on the Upstate economy.

I really believe that we are going to help and zero in on job growth in the North Country, and it was good to hear him talk about how we need that help in Upstate.

But Blankenbush says Cuomo failed to talk about the fiscal insolvency that many North Country counties and schools face.

I was hoping that we would start looking at and zeroing in on unfunded mandates that since we passed the 2% cap a couple years ago.  It was promised.

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