Lt. Governor Touts Policies for Rebuilding State’s Economy
John Jordan | July 25, 2015
RYE BROOK—More than 100 members and guests of The Business Council of Westchester were on hand June 30 for an exclusive address by New York Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul who told the audience how Governor Andrew Cuomo is rebuilding the state’s economy by adding jobs, luring businesses to stay in the Empire State and controlling spending and taxes.
Speaking before an audience that included state and local officials, Hochul talked about a “smorgasbord” of programs and policies that are helping boost New York businesses and easing the tax burden, including mandate relief and pension reform.
Hochul said that Gov. Cuomo’s cap on government spending was just renewed for four more years, a move she said will save the average taxpayer $5,800. She noted that the state’s unemployment rate, which neared 9% when Cuomo took office, has been declining. “Creating jobs has been the singular focus of this governor for years,” Hochul said. “In his tenure we’ve added 643,000 new jobs in the state of New York. That’s huge.”
She also said state budgets have been passed on time regularly enough for people to forget the years when late state budgets were the norm. She said school districts and local governments are no longer left in the lurch as they try to write their own budgets.
Hochul said she and Gov. Cuomo are eager to partner with businesses in programs such as IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program that nurtures students through high school and through two years of college and guarantees them a job.
“I would love it if more businesses would engage in this,” she said. “It is fairly new, but the governor and I are very competitive and with your help perhaps we can figure out a way to expand this and let Westchester continue to lead the way. You should be proud that it’s a company right here in your own county that’s taken a lead on that.”
She noted that construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge was coming along well, and praised Business Council President and CEO Marsha Gordon for helping to get the project moving after it was stalled for many years. “You were really a force of nature behind that,” she told Gordon.
Hochul has made a career in public service, but appreciates the private sector, coming from a family of people who took risks in business. Her father quit “one of the most secure jobs in America at the time,” at Bethlehem Steel, to join with a few others in a venture in “something called the computer industry,” she said. Their company became a global firm. Hochul’s mother began a flower business, and Hochul’s five siblings went into private businesses as well.
Gordon said she and others from the Business Council were impressed with Hochul’s appreciation of business when they traveled to Albany in February for the Business Council’s annual lobbying day. “We said, ‘We are so lucky to have this dynamo here, serving the governor and serving our state, someone who really understands business,’” Gordon said.
Hochul said the private sector is where they jobs will be created. “We can nurture, reduce the burden, reduce the legislation, reduce the taxes and create an environment where those of you who are with us now will be known as the visionaries as we continue to draw more people to do business in this amazing state.”
Hochul’s address, which was held in the auditorium of 800 Westchester Ave., was the first time Hochul had met with the BCW in Westchester.