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Andrew Cuomo

March 29, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo conducted his daily briefing at noon today. This is a recording provided by his press office of a portion of it.

Governor Cuomo: "I don't even have the words to express my admiration for them. FDR always had words. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear. To me that says it all today.

"Something is more important than their fear, which is their passion, their commitment, for public service, and helping others. That's all it is. It's just their passion and belief in helping others. And that overcomes their fear. And that makes them, in my book, just truly amazing, outstanding human beings."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

"These public people, I don't even have the words to express my admiration for them. FDR always had words. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear. To me that says it all today. Everyone is afraid. Everyone is afraid.

"Do you think these police officers are not afraid to leave their houses? You think these nurses are not afraid to go into the hospital? They're afraid. But, something is more important than their fear, which is their passion, their commitment, for public service, and helping others. That's all it is. It's just their passion and belief in helping others. And that overcomes their fear. And that makes them, in my book, just truly amazing, outstanding human beings. And I wish them and their families all the best."

March 28, 2020 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Video of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's daily briefing for March 28, 2020.

Press release:

Governor Cuomo: "People come up with all of these interesting ideas, you know. Who's painting their house because they never had time to paint their house before. Who's working on a project that they never got to. Who's reading a book that they never got to do. Who's writing a book. A few people say I'm writing my journals, I'm writing my life story. You know, find a way. You have the advantage of time here.

"I'm not trying to say it's not a terrible circumstance, but even in a terrible circumstance, if you look hard enough, you can find the little rays, a few rays of light, and people are doing it and I think we all should."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

"My gratuitous 2 cents, see if you can't find a silver lining in all of this. People say extraordinary things to me that I just pick up anecdotally. I was going for a walk with one of my daughters and Captain, Captain's my dog. People come up with all of these interesting ideas, you know.

"Who's painting their house because they never had time to paint their house before. Who's working on a project that they never got to. Who's reading a book that they never got to do. Who's writing a book. A few people say I'm writing my journals, I'm writing my life story. You know, find a way. You have the advantage of time here.

"And you have the advantage of time for communication. I've had conversations with my daughters, hours-long conversations, where it's just us, just us talking. No place to go. She doesn't have to go to work. She doesn't have to run out. And they're priceless, they are priceless. I'll never get the opportunity in life to do that again.

"You know, we're going to get through this, and they're going to go off and find a boyfriend and do whatever they do. I've had conversations with my mother, who can't leave the house, and she's in the house, and so we sort of take turns talking to Mom. And I talked to my mother for hours. And it's special. It's special.

"So, yes, it's terrible. And I'm not trying to say it's not a terrible circumstance, but even in a terrible circumstance, if you look hard enough, you can find the little rays, a few rays of light, and people are doing it and I think we all should."

March 26, 2020 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Video of this morning's briefing by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Accompanying press release:

  • The goal is having a 1,000-Plus Patient Overflow Facility in each NYC Borough and Downstate counties.
  • An additional 12,000 health professionals have signed up to volunteer as part of the State's Surge Healthcare Force since yesterday -- bringing total number of volunteers to more than 52,000;
  • More than 8,600 mental health professionals have now signed up to provide free online mental health services;
  • Confirms 6,448 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 37,258; new cases in 39 counties;

Governor Cuomo: "Our goal is to have a 1,000-plus overflow facility in each of the boroughs Downstate in the counties, Queens, Brooklyn, the New York City boroughs, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, and Rockland, so every county has a 1,000-plus-bed overflow facility and that's what we're working on at the same time, as well as increasing the capacity of the existing hospital system.

"During this difficult time let's listen to the voices of our better angels as individuals, as families, as a community, and as a society. We're going to get through this. The only question is how we get through it and when we get through it. But let's make sure at the end of the day that we can say we are the better for it and our children are the better for it -- and I believe they will be."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state is scouting additional new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

These new additions, together with the temporary hospitals that are being built at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center, are aimed at building thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early -- to mid-April. The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels for emergency beds.

The Governor also announced that an additional 12,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total number of volunteers to more than 52,000.

Additionally, more than 8,600 mental health professionals, including individuals from other states, have now signed up to provide free online mental health services. New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning. Top of the morning to you. The people with us today, to my right is James Malatras, president of the SUNY Empire College, to my left Melissa DeRosa, to her left, Robert Mujica, budget director, back of the room, my daughter Cara, who is doing a great job.

Let's talk about what's going on today. First, what I try to communicate in these briefings are the facts of the situation. Facts can be uplifting, they can be depressing at times, they can be confusing at times, but I think facts are empowering. You know, in a situation like this, not knowing the facts is worse because that's when feel out of control or when you feel that you're getting selective facts, or you're being deceived by the information you're getting. That is actually the worst situation.

So what I say to my people in every situation, just give me the facts first and then let me understand what the situation and the reality is and then we'll go from there, so that's what I try to do.

The facts on this situation are increasingly important on two levels: public health but also the economic facts. We've been focusing on the public health facts and the response of the public health system to the virus. More and more we now have to deal on two fronts. We have to deal with the public health situation but we also have to deal with the economic situation and I'll get to that in a moment.

Public health, we've had a two-prong agenda, which we've been pursuing aggressively. We still are flattening the curve so you reduce the flow into the hospital system. At the same time increase the hospital capacity. What we're looking for is not a reduction in in the number of cases. We're looking for a reduction in the rate of the increase in the number of cases. That's what comes first when you're starting to make progress. The rate of increase should reduce, as opposed to the number of absolute cases. So that's what we're looking for.

The optimum is when they talk about the apex of the curve is not to have an apex and that's what the flattening is, not to have that spike because the spike is where you would overwhelm the hospital systems that try to get down that rate of increase so you can actually handle it in the hospital system and that's what they talk about by the flattening of the curve.

Just as an aside, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been so kind and helpful to me. I speak to healthcare professionals all across the globe literally but Dr. Fauci I think is just brilliant at this and he has been so personally kind. I called him late at night. I called him in the middle of the night. I called him in the morning and he's been really a friend to me personally and the State of New York.

So this is all about getting that curve down and not overwhelming the hospital system. Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current health care system so little reality -- keep the curve down as low as you can but you cannot get fit curve down low enough so that you don't overwhelm the hospital capacity.

So any of these scenarios we have to increase the hospital capacity and that's why we're literally adding to the hospital capacity everywhere we can. That's what the Javits Hospital is about, that's what the Stony Brook hospital is about, that's what Westchester Convention Center, that's what the Old Westbury additional site is.

We're also scouting new sites now all across, primarily the downstate area of this state, for possible sites. Our goal is to have a 1,000-plus overflow facility in each of the boroughs downstate in the counties, Queens, Brooklyn, the New York City boroughs, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester and Rockland, so every county has a 1000-plus-bed overflow facility and that's what we're working on at the same time, as well as increasing the capacity of the existing hospital system.

As we've said the hospitals have a 53,000-bed capacity. We're trying get to 140,000-bed capacity between the hospitals and the overflow facilities. We've mandated that the hospitals increased their capacity by 50 percent. We've asked them to try to increase it 100 percent but they have to increase it 50 percent. We're also scouting dorms, scouting hotels for emergency beds and that's going well.

Equipment and PPE is an ongoing issue. Right now we do have enough PPE for the immediate future. The New York City hospital system confirm that so we have enough in stock now for the immediate need. Ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. I didn't know what they were a few weeks ago besides the cursory knowledge. I know too much about ventilators now. We're still shopping for ventilators all across the country. We need more.

We have approved the technology that allows one ventilator to serve two patients -- what they call splitting. Which is when you add a second set of tubes to a ventilator to do two patients. It's not ideal, but we believe it's workable. We're also converting anesthesia machines to ventilators. We have a couple of thousand anesthesia machines in our hospitals and we're converting them to work as ventilators.

Why is there such a demand on ventilators? And where did this come from? It's a respiratory illness for a large number of people. So, they all need ventilators. Also, non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. Think about that. So you don't have the same turnaround in the number of ventilators. If somebody is on ventilators for three or four days, that's one level of ventilators you need. If somebody is on for 11 to 21 days, that's a totally different equation and that's what we're dealing with. The high number of COVID patients and the long period of time that they actually need a ventilator.

We're also working on equalizing and distributing the load of patients. Right now, the number of cases is highest in Downstate New York. So we're working on a collaboration where we distribute the load between Downstate hospitals and Upstate hospitals. And we're also working on increasing the capacity for Upstate hospitals.

Shifting now to a totally different field: the economic consequences of what's going on which have just really gelled after what the federal government has done and we were waiting for the federal action to determine where we were from a point of revenues and economics.

What's happening to a state government -- any state. It's happening to a city government, is a double whammy. You have increased expenses because of the COVID virus and you have a tremendous loss of revenue because all those businesses are closed and all those people are out of work. People are out of work, they're not earning income, they're not paying income tax. Businesses are closed, they're not making money, they're not paying business revenue.

March 25, 2020 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.

Governor Cuomo: "We asked for mental health professionals to voluntarily sign up to provide online mental health services. Six thousand mental health professionals agreed to volunteer to provide mental health services for people who need it. How beautiful is that?

"God bless the 6,000 mental health professionals who are doing this 100-percent free, on top of whatever they have to do in their normal practice."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:

 

"This is also very exciting. I don't know that anyone else has done this. We've talked about the emotional stress that this brings on people. And the mental health stress, and mental health challenges. No one's really talking about this. You know, we're all concerned about the immediate critical need. The life and death of the immediate situation, which is right. But don't underestimate the emotional trauma that people are feeling, and the emotional health issues.

"We asked for mental health professionals to voluntarily sign up to provide online mental health services. Six thousand mental health professionals agreed to volunteer to provide mental health services for people who need it. How beautiful is that?

"And the hotline, 1-844-863-9314, you can call that hotline, you can schedule an appointment with a mental health professional totally free, to talk to them about what you're feeling and what stress you're feeling. And again, God bless the 6,000 mental.health professionals who are doing this 100-percent free, on top of whatever they have to do in their normal practice. And I'm sure in their normal practice, they're busy. So this is really an extraordinary, extraordinary step by them."

March 24, 2020 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo reminded New Yorkers to thank the healthcare workers and other professionals who are doing 'God's work' during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Cuomo: "Our health care workers, who are doing God's work. They are doing God's work. Can you imagine the nurses who leave their homes in the morning, who kiss their children goodbye, go to a hospital, put on gowns, deal with people who have the coronavirus? They're thinking all day long, 'oh, my God, I hope I don't get this. Oh my God, I hope I don't get this and bring it home to my children.' You want to talk about extraordinary individuals -- extraordinary.

"Most of us are in our home hunkered down, worried. They're worried and they're going out there every day despite their fear -- despite their fear. Overcoming their fear, and not for their family, they're doing it for your family. When you see them on the street, when you see them in a hospital, please, just say thank you and smile and say, 'I know what you're doing.' "

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:

"We've acquired everything on the market there is to acquire. We've had a full team purchasing from companies all across this globe, buying everything that can be purchased. And we're bringing that here to distribute to New York City, Long Island, Westchester because that is the greatest need. This number of supplies will take care of our immediate need. It does not take care of the need going forward three, four, five, six weeks. The burn rate on this equipment is very, very high. I can't find any more equipment. It's not a question of money. I don't care what you're willing to pay. You just can't find the equipment now, but this will take care of the immediate need.

"I don't want our health care workers, who are doing God's work. They are doing God's work. Can you imagine the nurses who leave their homes in the morning, who kiss their children goodbye, go to a hospital, put on gowns, deal with people who have the coronavirus? They're thinking all day long, 'oh, my God, I hope I don't get this. Oh my God, I hope I don't get this and bring it home to my children.' You want to talk about extraordinary individuals -- extraordinary. And it's the nurses and the doctors and the health care workers, it's the police officers who show up every day and go out there and walk into a situation that they don't even know what they're walking into. And it's the firefighters and it's the transportation workers, and it's the people who are running the grocery stores and the pharmacies and providing all those essential services. Most of us are in our home hunkered down, worried. They're worried and they're going out there every day despite their fear -- despite their fear. Overcoming their fear, and not for their family, they're doing it for your family. When you see them on the street, when you see them in a hospital, please, just say thank you and smile and say, 'I know what you're doing.' "

March 23, 2020 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

This is a recording posted by the governor's office from this morning's briefing. We'll add the governor's press release below once we receive it.

Press release:

  • Governor Cuomo: "We are going to have time. And the question is how do we use this time positively?"
  • Cuomo: "Finding the silver lining, the positive. Life is going to be quieter for a matter of months. Everything will function. Life will function. Everything will normal operations, there won't be chaos There's less noise. You know what, that can be a good thing in some ways. You have more time. You have more flexibility. You can do some of those things that you haven't done, that you kept saying, 'Well I'd love to be able to, I'd love to be able to.' Well, now you can. You have more time with family."
  • Cuomo: "For myself, this young lady, Cara, is with me. She would never be here otherwise But I'm now going to be with Cara literally for a few months. What a beautiful gift that is, right? I would have never had that chance. And that is precious, and then after this is over she's gone, she's flown the nest. She's going to go do her thing, but this crazy situation is crazy as it is, came with this beautiful gift. So one door closes, another door opens. Think about that."
  • Cuomo: "Realize the timeframe we're expecting, make peace with it and find a way to help each other through this situation because it's hard for everyone. And the goal for me - socially distanced but spiritually connected. How do you achieve socially distanced but spiritually connected?"

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

 

I said don't be reactive, be productive, be proactive. Somebody, a few people have said to me afterwards, well what did that mean? That happens to me often. Look, this can go on for several months, okay? Nobody can tell you is it four months, six months, eight months, nine months - but it is several months.

 

We all have to now confront that that is a new reality. That is not going to change. You are not going to turn on the news tomorrow morning and they are going to say surprise, surprise this is all now resolved in two weeks. That is not going to happen. So, deal with this reality. Understand the negative effect of this, which I have spoken to personally because these are personally negative effect. You do not feel them governmentally, you feel them personally. You feel then in your own life.

 

And don't underestimate the emotional trauma and don't underestimate the pain of isolation. It is real. This is not the human condition - not to be comforted, not to be close, to be afraid and you can't hug someone. Billy and Steve walked in today. I had not seen them in months. I can't shake their hands. I can't hug them. You know this is all unnatural. My daughter came up. I can't give her the embrace and the kiss that I want to give her. This is all unnatural and disorienting. And it is not you, it is everyone. It's the condition.

 

And we are going to have time. And the question is how do we use this time positively? Also, at the same time we have to learn from this experience because we were not ready to deal with this and other situations will happen. Other situations will happen and let's at least learn from this to be prepared for the next situation as dramatic as this one has been.

 

Also finding the silver lining, the positive. Life is going to be quieter for a matter of months. Everything will function. Life will function. Everything will normal operations, there won't be chaos. The stores will have groceries. Gas stations will have gasoline. There's no reason for extraordinary anxiety. But it is going to change. You won't be at work, you can't be sitting at restaurants, you're not going to be going to birthday parties, you don't have to go to business conferences on the weekends. There's less noise. You know what, that can be a good thing in some ways: You have more time. You have more flexibility. You can do some of those things that you haven't done, that you kept saying, "Well I'd love to be able to, I'd love to be able to." Well now you can. You have more time with family.

 

And yes, I get family in cramped quarters can be difficult, but it's also the most precious commodity. For myself, this young lady, Cara, is with me. She would never be here otherwise. You know, I'm dad, right? The last thing you want to be when you're in Cara's position is hang out with the old man and hang out with dad and hear bad dad jokes, you know - they'll come with the holidays, they'll come when I give them heavy guilt, but I'm now going to be with Cara literally for a few months. What a beautiful gift that is, right? I would have never had that chance. And that is precious, and then after this is over she's gone, she's flown the nest. She's going to go do her thing, but this crazy situation is crazy as it is, came with this beautiful gift. So one door closes, another door opens. Think about that.

 

And as I said, normal operations will continue. As I said from day one, the level of anxiety is not connected to facts, there is no chaos the net effect - many people will get the virus, but few will be truly endangered. Hold both of those facts in your hands: Many will get it, up to 80 percent may get it, but few are truly endangered and we know who they are. Realize the timeframe we're expecting, make peace with it and find a way to help each other through this situation because it's hard for everyone. And the goal for me: Socially distanced but spiritually connected. How do you achieve socially distanced but spiritually connected?

January 22, 2020 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, Andrew Cuomo, news, notify.

cuomo01file2020.jpg

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cap increases on Medicaid spending at 3 percent at the county level could cost Genesee County another $2.3 million over the next four years.

That's just a rough guess, said County Manager Jay Gsell.

He called Cuomo's accusation that counties are spending on Medicaid with a "blank check syndrome" since the county share of Medicaid was capped in 2012 a "lie." He said the attempt to shift the burden for increases on Medicaid to counties is "voodoo economics for 2020" and using the maneuver to shift the cost of the state's deficit spending to county taxpayers a "Ponzi scheme."

“The Medicaid system has to be fiscally sustainable,” Cuomo said during his 2021 budget address. “If it is not fiscally sustainable then we accomplish nothing.”

New York State is facing a $6.1 billion budget gap due in large part to rising costs of Medicaid, a health insurance program that serves the poor, elderly and disabled.

Since the state capped county expenses, the state's share has increased $20 billion.

“That’s the blank check syndrome,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “We are signing the check and they’re filling out the amount.”

All Medicaid expenses, Gsell said today, are the result of state mandates. The county has no control over how much Medicaid costs or how much expenses increase.

The increases are a result of NY, as mandated by Albany, offering among the most generous Medicaid benefits package in the Union, and an increase in enrollment of Medicaid-eligible residents under the Affordable Care Act.

There are now 13,300 Genesee County residents enrolled in an ACA medical plan (not all are Medicaid eligible) compared to 8,800 five years ago.

"The State about eight to 10 years ago promised to takeover Medicaid administration from the local DSS districts, which still hasn’t occurred," Gsell said. "It now appears easier to pick a 'fall guy' – NYS counties – for the ongoing quagmire since 1966 that -- unlike in 48 of the other U.S. states -- New York State has bought into lock, stock, and barrel. I have yet to be told that we NYS Counties are making up our own benefit levels for this entitlement, enrolling masses of ineligible recipients, promoting fraud, waste, and abuse and essentially not doing our jobs. That is a figment of someone’s imagination in Albany. It is a lie and convenient dodge for a problem of the State government’s own making."

Photo: File photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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January 22, 2020 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined the FY 2021 Executive Budget, advancing a clear vision and bold, nation-leading and historic actions to make progress happen in the State of New York.

The budget plan features a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change, including a new plan to streamline government bureaucracy to deliver renewable energy projects faster; a $25 billion expansion of New York's largest-in-the-nation building program, bringing it to $275 billion; an historic $28.5 billion investment in education while reforming funding formulas to prioritize support for poor schools, and an expanded Excelsior free college tuition program to include families making up to $150,000 per year.

The Executive Budget also includes a new proposal to protect our democracy by banning foreign-influenced corporations from making campaign contributions; the most funding in the state's history - an additional $64 million - to provide services to people who are homeless, including those with mental illness; investments to combat child poverty and $157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit, serving 400,000 families with children under 4 years old; and an additional $25 million funding to harden security infrastructure at non-public schools and cultural organizations vulnerable to hate crimes.

The budget plan will also promote public health with proposals to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and cap insulin co-payments at $100 per month. It will continue New York's unprecedented economic and social progress by continuing middle-class tax cuts for 4.7 million New Yorkers making under $300,000 a year; cutting small corporate business taxes, benefiting 36,000 taxpayers and saving them $35 million; enacting the strongest Paid Sick Leave program in the nation, impacting 1.3 million New Yorkers; closing the rape intoxication loophole; expanding banking services for low-income people, and proposing an inclusive Equal Rights Amendment.

The Governor's proposal will reform the current Medicaid system with a new Medicaid Redesign Team co-chaired by Michael Dowling of Northwell Health and labor leader Dennis Rivera. The MRT II will work to reform the program and identify $2.5 billion in savings this year by finding industry efficiencies or additional industry revenue with zero impact to beneficiaries.

For the 10th consecutive year, the Executive Budget is balanced and continues the state's record of fiscal integrity.

"This budget is a roadmap for delivering progressive results for the people of this state and addressing the imminent challenges of our time by advancing social, racial and economic justice. We're proposing historic investments in climate change and infrastructure programs and fixing the school aid formula to ensure poorer schools get the funding they need," Governor Cuomo said. "We're tackling the division and hate that has spread like cancer in the body politic by funding new security measures for organizations targeted by hate crimes, protecting our democracy from foreign-influenced corporations, and addressing homelessness, child poverty and other barriers facing low-income New Yorkers. These policies build on our extensive accomplishments over the past nine years that have led to unprecedented economic growth and social progress and historically low unemployment throughout the state all while maintaining fiscal discipline and lowering taxes for middle class families."

Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2021 Executive Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $105.8 billion - an increase of 1.9 percent (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital)
  • All Funds spending $178 billion for FY 2021
  • Increases School Aid by $826 million - a 3 percent increase that brings the State's total annual investment to $28.5 billion
  • Provides $7.8 billion in State support for higher education in New York - an increase of $1.8 billion or 29 percent since FY 2012
  • Continues the phase-in of the Middle Class Tax Cut for nearly five million New Yorkers - saving New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year

2021 MAKING PROGRESS HAPPEN BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

$33 Billion Five-Year Plan to Combat Climate Change: The FY 2021 Executive Budget continues New York's record as the most aggressive climate leader in the world through a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change that will include: $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act supplemented by $740 million in additional state funding; $28 billion for green energy; and $1.5 billion for carbon-free transportation. The Governor also proposes reforms to approve renewable projects faster, with the State taking the lead in getting sites shovel ready for our green energy future.

$275 Billion Infrastructure Program: Governor Cuomo has undertaken the most ambitious infrastructure plan in the nation. Starting with an initial $100 billion investment, and followed up in the FY 2020 Budget with a second $150 billion investment, this Budget begins the support for expanding the total investment by $25 billion to $275 billion with new investments in transit, roads and bridges. The second phase, newly expanded $175 billion infrastructure plan builds on the Governor's initial $100 billion plan and includes:

  • $87 billion for transportation, including mass transit, railroads, airports, highways, bridges, and tunnels across the State.
  • $35 billion for improving environmental facilities and parks, and the development of green energy.
  • $11 billion for economic and community development.
  • $9 billion to further the State's investment in the construction of high-quality, affordable housing for the people of New York.
  • $19 billion to help school districts build new and better school buildings.
  • $14 billion to improve and maintain SUNY and CUNY buildings, State health care facilities and other capital assets.

The $275 billion infrastructure program will also continue to fund $6 billion for the Long Island Rail Road Second Track, Third Track and 39 modernized stations; new LaGuardia and JFK Airports; the East Side Access project; the Javits Center expansion; four new Bronx Metro-North stations in transit deserts; the Empire State Trail; modernization of the New York State Fair; and the $1 billion New NY Broadband program, ensuring broadband internet access for all.

Housing and Services for People who are Homeless, Including Those with Mental Illness: New York's homeless community and those with mental illness are among the hardest populations to help. This year, Governor Cuomo is proposing an aggressive strategy and the most funding in the State's history to provide housing and services to these vulnerable populations. Building on the State's $20 billion affordable housing and homeless initiative, the FY 2021 Budget doubles funding from $64 million to $128 million for the Homeless Housing Assistance Program and invests $5 million for projects for homeless veterans.

Combating Child Poverty with the Empire State Child Tax Credit: The FY 2021 Budget is supporting $2.9 billion for families with children under five years old, including $157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit. Currently this critical credit for low-and moderate-income families only applies to children 4-16 years old. This proposal will eliminate this unfair distinction and expand the tax credit to families with children between the ages of 0-3 making under $50,000. This will provide an average of a $400 benefit per family to nearly 400,000 working class families with children under four years old - approximately 172,500 families with children over the age of three will get an additional benefit and 225,500 families with children three and under will receive this benefit for the first time.

Protecting Organizations Vulnerable to Hate Crimes: The FY 2021 Budget will invest an additional $25 million for religious and non-religious not-for-profit organizations that are vulnerable to hate crimes. This funding builds on the $70 million the State has already made available for these organizations to fight back against hate.

Banning Contributions from Foreign-Influenced Corporations: The FY 2021 Budget includes a proposal to ban corporations from contributing to political campaigns in New York, or from making independent expenditures to influence elections, if a single foreign entity controls 5 percent ownership. The proposal would also ban corporations with more than 10 percent ownership in aggregate by two or more foreign entities from making such contributions or expenditures. Finally, the proposal will ban campaign spending if more than 10 percent of a corporation's board members are foreign nationals, or a foreign national participates in the decision making with respect to a corporation's political activities in the United States. Our nation's campaign finance laws state that "foreign nationals" are barred from spending in any American election, city, state or federal. Since that's true for individual foreigners, it must also be true for the corporations owned or controlled by them.

Requiring Public Officials to Disclose Their Tax Returns: Governor Cuomo will propose the "Nothing to Hide" Act in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to make our government the most transparent in the nation. The law will require that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Comptroller, every state commissioner, and every Assembly Member and Senator make their tax returns public. Further, any elected official in the State with a government salary over $100,000 a year will have to do the same. 

New School Aid Funding Formula: Since 2012, New York State has increased funding for education by 43 percent, and this year the Governor's main goal is to ensure educational equity. In 2019 the Governor mandated that districts disclose the amount of funding distributed to each individual school. However, wealthier school districts still spend approximately $36,000 per student as opposed to $13,000 per student at poorer school districts. To ensure State funds are used to reduce funding disparities, the FY 2021 Budget will increase School Aid by $826 million, bringing the total annual investment to a record $28.5 billion, with 85 percent of the Foundation Aid increase going to the highest-need districts. To further prioritize poorer schools and ensure education equity, the Governor is proposing a new School Aid Funding Formula to properly distribute funds and build up underserved school districts.

Continuing Middle-Class Tax Cuts: Governor Cuomo will continue to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2020, the third year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.09 percent for taxpayers in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, and to 6.41 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save 4.7 million New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year. Furthermore, income tax rates will continue to drop to 5.5 percent for taxpayers in the $27,900-$161,550 tax bracket and 6 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 brackets. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle-class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State's lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.

Lowering Tax Rates by 40 Percent for Small Businesses: To continue the State's robust economic growth and record of job creation, Governor Cuomo will enact comprehensive tax relief for small businesses, including reducing the corporate tax rate for small businesses from 6.5 percent to 4 percent, which will benefit 36,000 taxpayers and save them $35 million.

Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Working New Yorkers: To further empower New York's low-wage workers and protect all consumers in the State, Governor Cuomo will enact paid sick leave. Businesses with five to 99 employees will provide their employees at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and businesses with 100 employees or more will provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. Smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees, will guarantee five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave to their employees every year. Small businesses already providing paid sick leave will be able to so.

Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Banking Services, Credit and Financial Education: The FY 2021 Budget will invest $25 million in new funding over five years to support banking services in low-income areas and underserved communities across the state. This funding is part of the Governor's sweeping financial access and inclusion agenda that builds on the work his administration has done to expand access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education. The Budget will also create a statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment, based at the Department of Financial Services, to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle- income New Yorkers across the state.

Expanding Free College Tuition to More Middle-Class Families: To expand the transformational opportunity of the Excelsior Scholarship to more middle-class families, Governor Cuomo is proposing to raise the Excelsior eligibility threshold from $125,000 to $150,000 of adjusted gross family income for New York's families. By increasing the threshold, more than 230,000, or nearly 58 percent of New York resident students will go to a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.

Closing the Rape Intoxication Loophole: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to close the archaic rape intoxication loophole because rape should not be a punishment for drinking alcohol under New York State law. This legislation will rightfully clarify that a victim's ability to consent is jeopardized whether they were voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated, giving prosecutors the ability to ensure that sexual abusers are held accountable for their criminal acts and sexual abuse survivors are able to obtain the justice they deserve.

Passing First-in-the-Nation Inclusive Equal Rights Amendment: Governor Cuomo will seek to amend the New York State Constitution's Equal Rights Amendment so that New York sets the national standard for how states protect equal rights. The Governor will seek to add sex as a protected class to Section 11 of Article I, ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender, are fully protected by the State Constitution. Additionally, he will push for the addition of other categories, including ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity so that those critically important protections are also enshrined into the state constitution.

GREEN ECONOMY & ENVIRONMENT
This past decade was the hottest ever recorded, and the five hottest years in history have all occurred since 2015. New York will continue its record as the most aggressive climate leader in the world through a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change. This nation-leading first of its kind plan will transition the State to renewable power while combatting climate.

Restore Mother Nature: Centered on the Governor's $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, New York State will reduce flood risk, invest in resilient infrastructure and revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats by connecting streams and waterways, right-sizing culverts and dams, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, reclaiming natural floodplains, restocking shellfish populations and upgrading fish hatcheries, preserving open space, conserving more forest areas, replanting more trees, reducing contamination from agricultural and stormwater runoff, and expanding renewable energy. This wide-reaching environmental conservation and resiliency investment includes support from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Fund. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Green Energy: Governor Cuomo has set New York on course to achieving 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by 2040. Under his leadership, the State has made substantial progress toward these goals with significant investments in energy efficiency, solar energy, wind energy and energy storage. To help achieve these goals, the Climate plan invests $28 billion through NYSERDA, New York Green Bank, NYPA and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to develop, support and expand carbon-free energy production, build the infrastructure such as transmission lines and energy storage that make renewable energy sources viable and work with our regional partners in driving down carbon emissions. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Carbon-Free Transportation: New York already has the second most efficient transportation sector and lowest CO2 emissions per capita of any state. New York is a leader in electric vehicles - or EVs - thanks to the Charge NY initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013.  Charge NY set ambitious goals - 30,000 EVs and 3,000 EV charging stations by the end of 2018 - and exceeded them.  Over 50,000 electric vehicles have been purchased in New York since 2013 — more than 48 other states. The Climate Budget invests $370 million to continue to reduce carbon emissions in New York State. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Banning Single Use and Packaging Styrofoam Products: To build on the progress of last year's plastic bag ban, the Governor is proposing new legislation to prohibit the distribution and use of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, single-use food containers and packaging materials by January 1, 2022.

Enacting Comprehensive E-Bike and E-Scooter Legislation: To get more people out of cars, the Governor is proposing comprehensive legislation to legalize and expand the e-bike and e-scooter network without compromising on public safety.

Making the Fracking Ban Permanent: The Governor will introduce a bill to permanently ban fracking by amending environmental conservation law to restrict the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing to complete or recomplete natural gas resources, protecting the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice. This bill reflects an important step forward toward achieving New York's clean energy economy goals.

Renewing Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Budget continues EPF funding for a second straight year at a record high $300 million. Appropriations include $39 million for solid waste programs, $89 million for parks and recreation, $152 million for open space programs and $20 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program.  

BUILDING A NEW NY

Economic development follows infrastructure, and while the country sits idle New York State is forging ahead with the nation's most aggressive $275 billion infrastructure program that is transforming every region of the State. Under the Governor's leadership, New York is investing more today in roads and bridges than at any period in our State's history, and the state has already completed $65 billion in construction, more than any state in the nation. Building upon these historic investments, Governor Cuomo will continue to lead the way on creating a 21st Century transportation infrastructure that moves New York's economy forward and improves quality of life for our residents and visitors.

DOT Capital Plan: The FY 2021 Budget will support $11.9 billion for the two-year DOT Capital Plan that will transform New York's highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities. Compared to the final two years of the last DOT Capital Plan, this is an increase of $3 billion, or 33 percent.

MTA Capital Plan Commitment: The FY 2021 Budget will continue to support the $52 billion MTA Capital Plan - the largest state investment in history. This investment includes $3 billion to make up to 70 subway stations accessible.

Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition Round 2: The FY 2021 Budget will invest up to $100 million to continue transforming upstate airports with Round 2 of the Upstate Airport and Economic Development Revitalization Competition. Airports across the state will be encouraged to submit proposals to enhance safety and economic development, improve airport operations and access, reduce environmental impact and create better passenger experiences.

Reimagining the Erie Canal. Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will invest $300 million over the next five years to integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal through a new program that will stimulate tourism and economic development, address environmental challenges unknown a century ago, and create an asset that will improve the quality of life in communities along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal. A first phase of funding will start this year that will have two parts: a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area. The remaining $135 million of the plan's funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutions related to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.

Empire Station: The State is investing $700 million to leverage a total of $3 billion, including from private sector and Federal sources, for the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office building into the Moynihan Train Hall. Combined with extensive renovations at the existing Penn Station, this will create a new Empire Station. In his 2020 State of the State, Governor Cuomo announced a proposal to expand Penn Station southward to create the Empire Station District. The plan creates new, larger terminals, and will increase track and train capacity by 40 percent, addressing the underlying and most critical problem at the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere.

Regional Targeted Investments are Working

The Governor will continue to advance economic prosperity for all with projects that build on the state's successful regional economic development strategy.

Securing a High-Speed Electron-Ion Collider at Brookhaven: The FY 2021 Budget supports a $100 million multi-year commitment to secure a High-Speed Electron-Ion Collider at Brookhaven to build the region's research triangle. The funding will allow for the construction of new support buildings, power distribution upgrades, a new cooling system and sustainability enhancements required for the new collider.  

Modernizing Lake Placid Olympic facilities, Gore and Belleayre Mountains: The FY 2021 Budget will invest $147 million to modernize Lake Placid Olympic Facilities, Gore Mountain, and Belleayre Mountain.

Creating the State's First Comprehensive Education and Training Center in Syracuse: To meet the emerging science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics demands in Syracuse, the Executive Budget proposes the creation of the State's first regional Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center in Central New York. Administered by the Syracuse City School District in partnership with SUNY Empire State College and other local colleges and universities, the Center will provide specialized educational opportunities and state of the art workforce training programs in advanced technologies to students and residents throughout the region. The State will reimburse 98 percent, or $71.4 million, of the cost to renovate the building that will house the Center. The Syracuse Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center is scheduled to open in 2021 and will serve ultimately 1,000 students, as well as residents of the community. 

Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block: The State will develop Buffalo Canalside's North Aud Block and improve access to the city's waterfront, featuring mixed use residential and commercial buildings and a piazza for public use, based on community and stakeholder input. This also includes the rail station that is forthcoming in Buffalo and its coordination with the new North Aud Block neighborhood.

Expanding High Technology Companies in Rochester: The Governor is supporting the expansion of three industry-leading high technology companies in the City of Rochester that will further grow the Finger Lakes regional economy as part of the Governor's continued commitment to growing the high-tech ecosystem in and around Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone. The expansion of these companies will create more than 700 jobs in and near Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone.

Expanding New York's Drone Corridor: The Governor is investing $9 million to establish an unmanned aerial system experimentation and test facility at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, Oneida County. This "Skydome" will be a year-round indoor research facility to support the safe experimentation of drone technology and techniques, further strengthening the Mohawk Valley and Central New York as a hub for innovation.

Phase II Capitol Courtyard Restoration: The FY 2021 Executive Budget will invest $5 million to enhance the State Capitol by renovating and refurbishing the courtyard to bring it back to its original grandeur and make it sustainable for commercial use.

Transferring Pier 76 Tow Pound to Hudson River Park for Reuse: Governor Cuomo is proposing that the Hudson River Park Trust develop a plan to effectuate the long deferred transfer of Pier 76 from its use as a tow pound for the NYPD to the control of the Hudson River Park Trust to integrate into the park complex, maximizing green space, recreation and community access and market potential. As part of the proposal, the NYPD must vacate within one year and the Hudson River Park Trust should also develop an improvement plan for Pier 40.

Vital Brooklyn Initiative: The FY 2021 Executive Budget will continue to invest in the $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative. The funding will help build 32 healthcare centers, 4,000 new affordable homes and over 400 acres of newly opened green and recreational space.

South Bronx Transformation: The Budget will support $1.8 billion for the South Bronx transformation - the largest state investment in the South Bronx in the State's history. Projects to transform the South Bronx include the Sheridan Boulevard, Hunts Point Market and four new Metro-North stations in Bronx transit deserts. 

Launching Next Round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative: The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Participating communities are nominated by the State's ten REDCs based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Through four rounds of awards, each winning community was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization. The FY 2021 Executive Budget provides $100 million for a fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Program.

Continuing the Successful Regional Economic Development Councils: In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils to develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. Since then, the State has invested more than $6.9 billion through the REDCs, funding more than 8,300 projects and supporting more than 240,000 jobs across the state. The FY 2021 Executive Budget includes $750 million to continue our aggressive, bottom-up regional economic development strategy through the transformative REDC initiative.

COMBATING DIVISION AND ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY

Increasing and Modernizing Emergency Response Capacity: Over 60 percent of New York counties have been flooded twice in the past 10 years. We must be ready to handle these increasing, life-threatening, emergency situations. It is a new and growing challenge for our state operations. The FY 2021 Executive Budget sustains $12 million in capital funding to increase and update the State's emergency response capacity so our brave women and men have the right equipment to do their jobs.

Banning Repeat and High-Risk Sexual Offenders from MTA Transit Systems: The Governor will advance legislation to authorize the MTA to issue orders prohibiting individuals who commit repeat sex-related violations of the MTA code of conduct, those who are high-risk sex offenders (Level 3) or those who assault or harass MTA employees from using MTA transportation services for a period of three years. Additionally, this proposal will establish a new law for transit-related sex crime where, if convicted, a prohibition order may be imposed by a judge to ensure the safety of the pubic. Under this proposal, as a condition of pre-trial release, the judge may also issue a temporary prohibition order if good cause is shown that the prohibition is necessary to maintain public safety. Individuals who violate a prohibition order could be charged with Transit Trespass, an A misdemeanor.

 Banning Fentanyl Analogs to Further Combat the Opioid Epidemic: The Governor will introduce legislation to explicitly designate fentanyl analogs as controlled substances in New York State. This legislation will give police and law enforcement the authority to prosecute the manufacturing, sale and distribution of these drugs to the fullest extent of the law. The proposed legislation will also give the State Department of Health Commissioner the authority to add additional analogs to the list of controlled substances, enabling the State to stay in front of these deadly substances as they appear on the market.

 Preventing the Manufacture and Dissemination of Ghost Guns: To address the growing concern over ghost guns, Governor Cuomo will advance comprehensive legislation to prevent access to and use of these weapons. First, this proposal would require individuals to obtain major components of a firearm, rifle or shotgun only through an in-store transaction at a licensed gun dealer. Second, licensed dealers would be required to distribute major components only to individuals who possess valid identification and to log all transactions and would require all unfinished frames and receivers to have a serial number issued by the State Police. Third, the proposal would prohibit individuals who cannot legally possess a rifle or shotgun from possessing a major component part that could be used to build a firearm, rifle or shotgun and create new misdemeanor and felony penalties for violating these new provisions.

Closing the Out-of-State Gun Loophole: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to prohibit individuals from obtaining a gun license who commit serious offenses out-of-state that would disqualify them from obtaining a gun license if committed in New York. This will provide greater consistency in New York's licensing scheme and ensure individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm are not able to do so. The Governor is also advancing legislation to require all state and local law enforcement agencies in the state to opt in to the ATF's crime gun trace data sharing program and submit crime guns recovered through the ATF's eTrace system. Additionally, Governor Cuomo is proposing legislation to amend the Mental Hygiene Law to allow New York to share reports of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others with other states.

Legalizing Cannabis: This year Governor Cuomo is proposing a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis, creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to specialize in cannabis regulation - overseeing the medical, adult-use and hemp programs. The proposal will administer social equity licensing opportunities, develop an egalitarian adult-use market structure and facilitate market entry through access to capital, technical assistance and incubation of equity entrepreneurs. The proposal will also correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionally been impacted by prohibition. To safeguard public health, the proposal limits the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishes stringent quality and safety controls including oversight over the packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products. These efforts will be done in coordination with neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Governor will also propose creating a first of its kind Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education with SUNY and other expert partners.

Passing the Hate Crime Anti-Terrorism Act: To address the disturbing number of anti-Semitic and other discriminatory attacks in New York, the Governor is proposing a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate, creating a new A-1 class felony punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The Governor is also proposing New York schools add a curriculum that teaches civic values and the state's rich history of diversity and religious freedom. The Battery Park City Authority will develop a plan to expand the Museum of Jewish Heritage on the Holocaust to be a learning destination for school children across the state.

October 5, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, batavia, downtown, news.

Perhaps the third time is a charm.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after twice before scheduling announcements in Batavia and then quickly canceling the trip, has once again put Batavia on his schedule. 

Cuomo is expected to be at City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Members of the public who wish to attend are asked to RSVP.

The nature of the announcement has not been released, but Batavia is a candidate for a $10 million economic development grant and Cuomo has been traveling around the state in recent weeks announcing the grants in each of the 10 economic development regions. The winner for the Finger Lakes region has not yet been announced.

July 11, 2017 - 10:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, news, business, notify.

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Some businesses fail and some thrive, and if New York is going to grow economically, it needs to take the risk that not every business that receives state aid will live up to expectations.

That was the theme of comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, today in Batavia.

Muller Quaker Dairy didn't work out after being promised millions of dollars in state aid (most of which the project never received), but Cuomo and Zemsky are confident HP Hood is a good company for the state to assist as Hood prepares to expand the 363,000-square-foot facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

"If you want to be in the economic development business, you have to get accustomed to the adjustments," Cuomo said. "You know, only 50 percent of the businesses that start exist after five years. Fifty percent. By the time you get to the 10-year mark, only one-third are still in business. That's the nature of business.

"In the state of New York, we're doing economic development," he added. "We're creating hundreds of businesses, creating thousands of businesses. Well, then, you have to be prepared to have that number of defaults because that is the way the world works. The trick is to keep the fundamentals sound. Keep taxes low. Stay pro-business."

Both Cuomo and Zemsky said they believe Hood will succeed in Batavia.

"Think about the spectrum of industries out there," Zemsky said. "On the one hand, you've got relatively low-risk industries -- I would consider fluid milk to be a pretty stable. We're not figuring out if consumers like milk or not. You're not breaking new ground and producing milk.

"So milk is a pretty low-risk investment in the whole spectrum of things. On the other side, you've got chip fabs or really next-generation industries. We do take some calculated risk, but I'd say this is very low on the scale of calculating risk."

HP Hood is a 170-year-old company based in Lynnfield, Mass., with four other locations in New York. The company is licensed to produce, or has produced, brand-name dairy and non-dairy products throughout the United States.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brand, Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

The former Muller Dairy plant is the largest dairy processing plant -- even before Hood adds 100,000 square feet of the refrigerated warehouse -- in the United States and in the middle of Upstate dairy country. It cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group $206 million to construct. Pepsi took a $60 million write-off when the plant closed. It's unknown how much money Muller lost on the venture.

Muller Quaker was attempting to enter an already crowded and competitive Greek yogurt market with a product that tried to position itself as Greek yogurt but really wasn't.  

Dairy Farmers of America purchased the plant shortly after it closed in December 2015 for $60 million. News broke in June (as first reported by The Batavian) that HP Hood was acquiring the plant from DFA and last week, Hood closed the deal for $54 million.

To assist Hood with its $200 million investment in the plant, Empire State Development will provide up to $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. As with Muller Quaker, these tax incentives are withheld until employment targets are met.

There is also a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is also amending the current PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes), which will provide Hood with more than $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years.

In return, Hood is planning upgrades and equipment purchases and labor costs for reconstruction of more than $150 million. Construction will create more than 500 jobs. There will be another 230 to 250 permanent jobs at the plant.

The support the state is providing HP Hood has an immediate payoff, regardless of what comes down the road, Zemsky said. He called the support a "no brainer."

"This is huge for the dairy farmers," Zemsky said. "It's huge for the whole footprint of the dairy industry. The returns are immediate. Fifty-four million to buy the plant, about $150 million to repurpose it. Two hundred and fifty jobs. That's more than was here at the peak when it was Muller."

During his public remarks, Cuomo said he's trying to reverse 40 years of Albany's neglect of Upstate's business needs, that includes commiting more than $25 million to the Finger Lakes Region for economic development. He said that's more than any governor in history.

"You keep raising taxes, you make it difficult for businesses to be here," Cuomo said. "I'll tell you what's going to happen at one point -- they're going to leave. And they did. We had what I call a 'hangover New York arrogance.' Well, wait, the businesses will stay here. Where else are they gonna go?

"There are actually other places they can go. You look at a map you will see around the State of New York other shapes squares and triangles. Those are called other states. If you force people, they will leave New York and we have essentially forced people (to leave). It's been a tough business, high-tax environment, high-regulation environment.

He expanded on that theme with the press after his speech.

"We have businesses in New York who just get calls at their desk from other states -- come to my state and you won't have to pay any taxes and we'll send the plane and we'll bring you and your wife for the weekend," Cuomo said.

"It is amazing, the competition. So if you said, 'Well, I'm not going to try to do economic development,' you would just be sitting there as a target for every other state.

"One by one they would pick off your companies, and in a relatively short period of time, you'd be sitting there alone -- losing jobs, losing people, which is what happened to Upstate New York."

Representing Hood at the event was Vice President Jeffrey Kaneb. He is the son of John Kaneb, who first tripled revenue for Gulf Oil to $4.6 billion before selling it in 2005.  The Kaneb family acquired Hood in 1995, growing annual revenue from $600 million to more than $2.3 billion. 

"We're very excited to have this opportunity to grow our business here," Kaneb said. "We are very very grateful for the support that we've gotten from the governor's office, from his staff, from the county, from the entire community, in getting us to this point. We look forward to becoming a supportive member of this community, a good neighbor, and an employer of choice here in Batavia."

Hood is hiring. People interested in a job should call (1-800) 428-6329.

As for STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park), the super site in Alabama intended to attract high-tech manufacturers, Zemsky said he thinks it's inevitable that big businesses start to move into that park, because of the location and its access to hydropower and fresh water.

However, Zemsky sounded a cautious tone about whether 1366 Technologies, the solar wafer startup from Massachusetts, that was the first announced tenant for the park, ever breaks ground. 

"I have met with them," Zemsky said. "I haven't talked to them in a while and I think, again, these businesses are competitive. They have to raise capital. I think they have some more capital to raise, so whether or not it happens depends, but it's not going to be all state-financed."

One of the holdups may be the change in presidential administration, from one that supported renewable energy to one that may be more skeptical about the need to support wind and solar. While 1366 has raised substantial private equity, receiving backing from the Department of Energy seems to be a key component of its financial package. The company was previously promised a $150 million loan guarantee from the DOE.

"I think, like anything, the changing of the landscape politically through regulations of the federal government, the vagaries of the financing market, the price of alternative energies -- these are all factors that make being in business really difficult," Zemsky said.

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Hood VP Jeffrey Kaneb.

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July 10, 2017 - 9:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Announcement: 

From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:

Fellow New Yorker,

New York is one of the largest dairy producers in the country, being home to nearly 5,000 dairy farms and more than 600,000 dairy cows.

And the majority of the farms in the state are family-run operations -- that's why it's crucial the state invest in hard working New York families and ensure they have the support they need to succeed.

Tomorrow, I am announcing the details of a new partnership that will create hundreds of new jobs at an idle dairy facility in New York.

Join me tomorrow, July 11th at 12:30 p.m. as I unveil the details of this new investment.

WHAT: Announcing new investment in New York dairy industry
WHEN: Tuesday, July 11th at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park
5140 Ag Park Drive, Batavia 14020

Thank you for your support, ever upward.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

April 4, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, news, Andrew Cuomo, chris collins.

It's just two partisans fighting, County Manager Jay Gsell said of a proposal to shift money around so that counties in the State of New York could get relief from the unfunded mandate known as Medicaid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing legislation called the Empire State Equity Act, which would shift back to New York, some $30 billion in taxpayer money from the federal government to the state.

With that money, the state then could assume the cost of the $2.3 billion shelled out by counties now to support Medicaid, but only for counties that agreed to cut local property taxes by the amount of their current share.

That could be $277 average savings per property in Genesee County, according to a chart released by the governor's office.

Where the governor sees tax savings for county residents, Gsell sees smoke and mirrors and political rhetoric aimed at Rep. Chris Collins.

"It's a political war of words between two people, Collins and Cuomo, who seem to really dislike each other and engage in negative partisanship to the max," Gsell said.

The way Gsell sees it, the proposal is asking the feds to "artificially" adjust a funding formula for New York, which is similar to something Schumer did temporarily a few years ago, and give it the "innocent sounding phrase, 'Empire Equity,' and then only provide a cost shift."

Gsell noted the benefit level -- a cause of the state's high Medicaid expense as he sees it -- wouldn't be cut under the governer's proposal, which leaves him distrustful of the long-term effects.

He thinks many counties might pass 100 percent of the cost savings onto taxpayers in the form of lower property taxes, but he fears that is just a trap.

"Our concern, borne out of 50 years of NYS unilateral imposition of cost shifts and mandates," Gsell said, "is that just like with re-K/EI (early intervention) funding and the elimination of the counties from the AIM dollars (a state revenue share with municipalities), as the state was going to take over 75 percent of the total program cost, but they stopped at 59 percent and left the counties out to dry.

"The same can happen with the Empire Equity Act in that the state holds all the cards, all the control, and always blames we locals for the abysmal state of property taxes, and they -- and he, Gov. Cuomo -- refuse to take any responsibility for the unfunded mandates and cost shifts, creating in essence a NYS property tax 'levy' within our county budgets."

Cuomo has called New York a "donor state," in that it pays out $30 billion more in taxes to the federal government than it receives in benefits. He touted this bill as a way to "level the playing field."

The governor backed the proposal as a response to an amendment from Collins to the American Health Care Act, which was eventually pulled from a vote by Speaker Paul Ryan, that would have prohibited the State of New York from taking money from counties to help fund Medicaid. Cuomo called the Collins proposal "a fraud."

"Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, God rest his soul, used to talk about the unfairness that New York gave so much and got back so little," Cuomo said during a press conference on the proposal. "Second, the promises made, from Congressman Ryan to President Trump to Mr. Faso to Mr. Collins was tax relief for the working men and women of this country. Right? That’s what they all ran on. That’s what they all promised. That’s what they all said.

"Well, this actually does just that. This says, 'let’s give New York additional Medicaid money because they are a donor state, let’s reduce the inequity' and New York will then give the money to the taxpayers in property tax relief."

An aide to Collins provided this statement:

“Although late to the party, I am glad Governor Cuomo has finally seen how unsustainable it is to force hardworking property taxpayers to subsidize New York’s out of control Medicaid program,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Unfortunately, instead of reviewing his own bloated budget for the 1.5 percent needed, the out-of-touch Governor demands more federal government for the nation's most bloated Medicaid program.

"The Governor needs to quit living a federally funded fairy tale and find savings in New York's Medicaid program which costs 44-percent more per recipient than the national average, and spends more than those of Texas and Florida combined.”

February 20, 2014 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, Andrew Cuomo, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced his opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s plan to give free college degrees to people in prison. The governor’s plan reflects the misplaced priorities of Downstaters who continue to ignore the needs of hard-working Western New York families. Instead of rewarding criminals, Hawley says the state should help the families who are taking on overwhelming debt to put their kids through college.

“The governor’s plan to give free college to convicts is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard during my tenure as an assemblyman. It’s insulting to middle-class Western New Yorkers who are taking on debts over $50,000 to go to college,” Hawley said. “This plan punishes law-abiding citizens while rewarding criminals. Not only is this idea wrong in principle, but it may cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. We should never ask taxpayers to pay for the college education of convicts while they are taking on debt to pay for their own.”

Press release Congressman Chris Collins:

“The Governor’s latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals with New Yorkers’ tax dollars is an insult to law-abiding citizens all across our state who are struggling to pay for higher education or find employment in this stagnant economy. This plan is just the latest sign that for a state that is the highest taxed and ranks among the worst in job creation, Albany has its priorities all screwed up.”

The Wall Street Journal: New Gov. Cuomo Initiative Will Fund College Classes in Prisons

UPDATE -- from Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of federal taxpayer dollars to provide a college education to convicted criminals. The pending legislation is in response to Governor Cuomo’s announced plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals in New York State prisons.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides states with funding for educational and other programs at state prisons and correctional facilities. Collins’ legislation would ban states from using the federal taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals.

“We hear over and over again from politicians concerned about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student debt our young people are sacked with after earning their degree," Collins said. "Strangely, many of these same politicians think tax dollars should be spent to give convicted criminals a free college degree.”

According to The Project on Student Debt, 60 percent of college graduates in New York State carry student debt. The average amount of student debt for New Yorkers is $25,537.  

Congressman Collins will formally introduce the legislation in the coming days. As the House moves forward with the Appropriations process later this year, Collins will also introduce a limiting rider to ensure no appropriated funds in a particular bill are used to fund college courses for convicted criminals. Collins’ bill would not ban states from using federal dollars to support GED or work training programs in prisons and correctional facilities.

January 18, 2014 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Andrew Cuomo, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

More than 100 gun rights advocates turned out this morning in 20-degree whether at the NYSP barracks on West Saile Drive to protest the SAFE Act.

As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the target of the protest signs and the speakers' rhetoric, but as it turned out, Cuomo gave the protesters a little extra ammunition when, during a radio interview yesterday, the first-term governor said, “If they are extreme conservatives, they have no place in the State of New York."

More than one speaker mentioned Cuomo's statement and suggested that perhaps it's Cuomo who should leave New York and is the one out of step with the majority of New Yorkers.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley also took Cuomo to task for his statement.

“The governor’s comments about my constituents are offensive and are a Freudian slip, which reveals what he truly thinks of Upstate New Yorkers. He has no right to come to Upstate New York and call himself governor when he has such obvious disdain for its people,” Hawley said. “The majority of Upstate New Yorkers are pro-Second Amendment and believe in traditional family values.

"If the governor does not think the good people of Upstate New York have a place in New York, he seems to be doing a good job of driving our families out of the state with his highest-in-the-nation taxes and infringements on our rights.”

Cuomo's apparent lack of fondness for the people of Upstate New York is yet another reason, Hawley said, for supporting his call for a voter referendum on dividing New York into two states.

For more on Cuomo's statement, see this Buffalo News article.

We had a request to purchase these photos, so, for anybody who would like to purchase prints, click here.

June 10, 2013 - 4:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, taxes, Andrew Cuomo.

The language of the proposed law that would create "Tax Free New York" has been released. It articulates how tax free zones would be created on SUNY campuses, as suggested by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Genesee Community College would be among the state's colleges that could potentially host tax-free zones.

In order to foster entrepreneurial businesses, especially in tech fields, Cuomo hopes the proposal will lead to start-ups and business expansions on college campuses.

Highlights:

  • Colleges would apply for use of vacant space on campus or on property owned by the college and within one mile of the campus with space allocated to business not to exceed 200,000 square feet.
  • The state could also select up to 20 strategic locations of currently vacant or soon to be vacant state buildings for tax-free zones.
  • The college must demonstrate how a business located within a zone would align with or further the academic mission of the college.
  • In its application, the college must discuss whether the business in the tax-free zone would compete with a business in the community, but outside the tax-free zone.
  • Businesses would be required to create new jobs and pay employees prevailing wage in accordance with the Labor Law.
  • The tax exemption would last for 10 years and in order to maintain tax-free status, a business must retain the new jobs it created or face sanctions.
  • Businesses that cannot participate: retail, real estate and professional services.
  • The state will not reimburse local governments for any tax revenue loss.

The state Legislature has this week to either pass or reject the proposal.

Documents (PDF):

May 31, 2013 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Andrew Cuomo, Batavia Towne Center, COR Development.

During the "gaggle" (that's what reporters call it) with Gov. Andrew Cuomo following his speech at GCC yesterday, I asked him specifically about Genesee County Economic Development Center providing tax incentives to the retail project at Batavia Towne Center.

In these mini-press conferences, reporters are only given enough time to ask a few questions and it's difficult to ask follow-up questions, so I fumbled through my question (which really should have been a two- or three-parter), trying to cram in as much information into a short time as possible (and it was still a pretty long-winded question).

Another media outlet has reported that Cuomo was critical of the retail tax subsidies given to COR. The quote used: “It wasn’t the smartest investment of money."

The quote, in my view, is being taken out of context.

Here's Cuomo's full response to my question:

Your case is fact specific and I would have to look at the actual facts to see what they did. We had proposed IDA reforms. I believe there are economies that I can find there and I believe there are incidents where you can find it wasn't the smartest investment of money. That's why, that's one of the reasons I like the approach we're talking about here today. It's simple. It's clean. It doesn't have a lot of bureaucratic red tape. It's very easy to administer. Very few government officials required to administer it. So I think it's preferable to a lot of things we've done in the past.

Included in Cuomo's budget was a reenacted law meant to curtail IDAs providing tax breaks to retail projects. I asked Cuomo what the intent of that law was. He said, "Just improve the process and address the kind of abuses you've been talking about." He then said thank you and turned and left.

I didn't report any of this because I didn't find it particularly newsworthy. He couldn't address the specific local issue (hardly surprising, but I had to ask) and his answer to the more general "intent" question referenced my own question, which by his own admission, he didn't know much about. That seemed like a kind of circular logic that didn't make a lot of sense.

However, given that another media outlet used the quote, and though I don't mean to be critical of a fellow reporter, I feel obliged to put the quote in context.

May 8, 2013 - 5:47am
posted by Bob Harker in politics, business, taxes, Andrew Cuomo, ny.

"ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Chief Executive magazine ranks New York as the49th worst state for business in the opinion of CEOs questioned. The ninth annual survey of CEOs blamed New York's high taxes, bureaucracy and a regulatory system that is difficult to navigate. The CEOs ranked New York just better than California. Most larger states with strong labor unions faired poorly in the rankings. CEOs liked Texas most for the ninth straight year, followed by Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana. The ranking comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing a "New York Open for Business" campaign with TV ads that say the Empire State is now far more welcoming of business and employers. A Cuomo spokesman notes the state is now at its highest work force size ever."

April 27, 2013 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Andrew Cuomo, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

I'm seeing quite a few anti-Cuomo, anti-SAFE Act signs around Genesee County this spring. This one is in Elba.

January 26, 2013 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, Andrew Cuomo, pensions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a program that would help local governments save on near-term pension costs, potentially relieving local administrations of a major budgeting challenge, but both County Manager Jay Gsell and City Manager Jason Molino are reacting to the news with some caution.

Molino said until he can fully study the budget bill, assuming this provision even moves forward, he can't really comment on it.

He isn't yet ready to agree with the governor that the city will realize $3.1 million in pension savings over the next five years.

In a press release yesterday, Cuomo isn't promising local governments that they will completely avoid the pension expense, just some relief from near-term pension cost instability.

From the press release:

Under the plan, localities are given the option for a stable pension contribution rate that significantly reduces near-term payments but still keeps the pension systems fully funded over the long term. Local governments which opt in would avoid significant volatility in contribution rates and be better able to plan for the future. Though the locality receives short-term relief, because the contribution rate remains fixed, the total amount paid into the fund by the locality would not be diminished over the life of agreement, thereby maintaining the fiscal stability of the pension fund.

While over the next five years, Genesee County could receive a $11.5 million benefit over five years under the plan, Gsell is also keeping the proposal at arm's length.

Here's his e-mail response:

On the surface it is intriguing, but there are concerns as to the back-end balloon escalators in 10 to 25 years and what Comptroller Dinapoli will do every 5 years to "protect" the retirement system dollars is a major note of caution. This could be the NYS version of the Titanic iceberg, only it involves our budgets and employees retirement assets. Once the full details and not just the second-floor spin are revealed we will look at our pay-as-you-go options.

A year ago, Albany enacted a Tier VI retirement plan, which covers only new hires by government agencies. The plan will supposedly greatly reduce local government pension costs, but not for decades from now. What Cuomo is proposing now is to shift those savings so local governments can realize some benefit from Tier VI in the near term.

In the press release, Cuomo hails the plan as a major step toward helping local governments.

"The difficult financial pressures facing localities are well-known here in Albany, and my administration from day one has been committed to helping local governments meet their budgetary obligations as well as continue to provide critical services to their residents," Governor Cuomo said. "While the Tier VI reforms were a major step toward helping local governments deal with the pension crisis, we understand that more help is needed. For this reason, the Executive Budget proposed the Stable Rate option to offer local governments and schools a bridge to the long-term savings of Tier VI, as well as greater predictability."

September 11, 2012 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, 9-11, kathy hochul.

Press release:

"On this day, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the terror attacks that claimed thousands of lives and truly changed New York and our nation forever. On this day, we honor the memories and the lives of those who were killed and the families who will never forget them. We also honor the first responders who bravely put themselves in harm’s way – many of whom never returned home.

"It is also our obligation and our duty to make sure that we will always remember. As a new generation grows up without having witnessed the horror of September 11th, it is important to educate our children so they can understand the tragedy that unfolded on that day, the bravery and courage of our first responders, and the outpouring of goodwill in communities across New York and America as we recovered as one state and one nation."

UPDATE:  Statement from Rep. Kathy Hochul:

“Today as we mark the passing of another year since the September 11 attacks in 2001, we honor those we lost on that day. We recall the innocent victims taken too soon, the courage of the passengers who prevented further tragedy, and those first responders, who in doing their jobs, laid down their lives to protect their fellow Americans.

“What grew from this tragedy was an all encompassing spirit of patriotism, bonding our nation together in common purpose to move our country forward. Our endeavor today is to find that spirit once again. We must recognize that so much more binds us than divides us, and as Americans we are capable of solving the challenges of our time.

“In the memory of all who were lost on 9/11, I call on each of us to rekindle the spirit of patriotism that brought us together in our country’s darkest hour.”

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