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Cuomo pushes education, entrepreneurship at Potsdam budget presentation


POTSDAM — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said New York needs more jobs and better education Tuesday, but suggested that linking jobs more directly to education is key to an improved economy.

Mr. Cuomo pitched his State of the State and executive budget proposals at Clarkson University, Potsdam, with an almost singular focus on continuing his push for economic development, especially in upstate New York.

“We are an entrepreneurial state,” he said. “Jobs and education are the engine of economic development.”

Mr. Cuomo’s $142.6 million executive budget would increase state spending by 2 percent and boost school aid by 4.4 percent to $21 billion.

All of this would be accomplished without a tax increase, said Mr. Cuomo.

“You can’t keep taxing business,” he said. “We have the lowest middle class tax rates in 50 years... but we still have much to do.”

New York must stem the flow of businesses and skilled workers from it’s regions, Mr. Cuomo said.

“If you want to grow the economy, you have to grow each of the regions’ economies, too,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo is pushing research and technology transfer on college campuses throughout the state, from laboratories and classrooms to small business incubators. The nascent companies would receive tax incentives to remain in their area of origin.

“We’ll invest, but you’ll have to commit,” said Mr. Cuomo, christening the campus-business partnerships ‘innovation hotspots.’

Clarkson University models that kind of transfer from academia to the business world, Mr. Cuomo said.

“I think Clarkson is doing amazing work as an incubator,” he said. “There is such a great buzz about Clarkson. We have ideas in colleges, but they are not commercialized here (in New York).”

The SUNY system and community colleges would be asked to tailor their curricula to New York employers’ job requirements.

“Jobs are coming back here... there are 210,000 unfilled jobs in New York State,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Community colleges should be training for each of those 210,000 jobs.”

Mr. Cuomo also wants to fund marketing programs for New York products and places.

“Upstate New York has been dealing with decades of decline,” he said. “Currently, there is no marketing plan for upstate New York — we have a story that we just don’t tell.”

Northern New York shouldn’t expect state funding for a limited access, interstate type highway between Plattsburgh and Watertown any time soon, said Mr. Cuomo.

“We are constrained,” he said. “We don’t have enough money right now, we need an economic reality check.”

After passing two consecutive on-time budgets, Mr. Cuomo asked the legislature to make this year’s the third in a row. The budget is due April 1.

“We’ve passed responsible budgets for two years, and we’ve passed them on time,” he said. “Let’s pass on time to show everyone and send a message that the state is working well.”

Mr. Cuomo has taken his economic development initiatives — and his executive budget — on the road.

“Rather than just dealing with the legislators in Albany, I chose to deal with the people of the state,” he said.

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