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Cuomo hopes to spur competitive spirit

Capital District to be part of council to compete for $1B in state funding

Gov. Cuomo meets with the press after announcing members of the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council at Schenectady County Community College on Thursday, July 28.

Gov. Cuomo meets with the press after announcing members of the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council at Schenectady County Community College on Thursday, July 28. Photo by John Purcell.

— Cuomo said the councils need to develop regional plans that are sustainable and comprehensive and utilize public and private sector partnerships to create jobs. He said one of the biggest challenges is the state’s economy works in regions and all the lines and boundaries need must be looked beyond.

“What we are talking about here today … this has all been done and tested and tried hundreds and hundreds of times by communities all across the nation, so we know the approach works,” said Cuomo. “The concept that young people would leave New York to go anywhere else is totally foreign to me. … There is no place out there that has anything over New York State.”

The “old way,” said Cuomo, is the state would tell a region or area to come up with a plan and a certain amount of dollars would be given out. Using the councils in a competitive nature will help facilitate better plans through competition.

“We want plans that work. This is taxpayers’ money, and it is an investment in the state,” said Cuomo. “We want plans that actually produce jobs and keep people here.”

He said the competition might make people work harder and get more inspired, which could lead to better plans. The federal government moved toward competitive funding 20 years ago, he said, but the state has fallen behind in results and performance measures after writing checks.

“Some communities, frankly, come up with good plans, and some communities, frankly, don’t come up with good plans. The communities that don’t come up with good plans, it would be a waste to fund them,” he said.

The Capital District’s council will meet for the first time on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the University of Albany at 9:30 a.m. For information on the councils, visit nyworks.ny.gov.

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