Responding to concerns that some regions may be left out in the state’s $1 billion competitive economic development process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his stance Thursday that only funding the best economic plans will give the state the greatest return.
Cuomo was in Schenectady this morning to announce the Capital Region’s economic development council, which will be co-chaired by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president Shirley Ann Jackson and Michael Castellana, president and CEO of SEFCU, a regional bank.
“One of the principles here is that we want plans that work. This is taxpayers’ money and it is an investment in the state, and we want the money that we invest to reap dividends and we want plans that actually produce jobs and keep people here,” Cuomo told reporters. “So rather than saying we’re going to give money to every plan — come up with a plan, whatever the plan is, we’re going to give you government money — that’s the old way.”
The competitive aspect of the program will force regions to work together to come up with the best 5-year strategic plan, Cuomo said, which will be used as an application for the $1 billion in grants, bonds, tax breaks and other incentives.
“We say we will fund the best plans, and it’s a competition. And if the competition makes you work a little harder and gets your energy up and you come up with a better plan, great,” Cuomo said. “Competition also means that we fund those plans that have the highest likelihood of success and we don’t waste taxpayers’ dollars by funding plans that don’t work.”
The governor also touched on the debate over raising the federal debt ceiling, which has locked federal lawmakers and the president in a stalemate as an Aug. 2 deadline approaches, which the Obama administration says is the day the federal government would begin defaulting on its financial obligations.
“You have different positions within the houses. This is not just the President’s position and Congress’ position; you have a variety of different positions within the Congress,” Cuomo said. “So it’s very complicated. I believe it will be worked out when it has to be worked out because the deadline forces resolution, and I believe that’s what’s going to happen.”
Here’s video of Cuomo explaining the benefits of his economic development program to reporters: