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Cuomo speaks budget in Plattsburgh

The governor outlined his ambitious executive budget and reform proposals

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas gollowing his budget address at Plattsburgh State University College Feb. 3.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas gollowing his budget address at Plattsburgh State University College Feb. 3. Photo by John Grybos.

— Cuomo spoke of building the largest convention center in the nation, pushing New York up from its 12th-place ranking.

“New York should be first in the nation.”

He suggested a second round of regional economic development awards.

“You really have to develop that regional economy and come up with one comprehensive vision for the region.”

His budget includes a new round of $200 million in competitive resources for the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils.

Cuomo said in a perfect world he likely would not support casino gaming. But it is not perfect and New York is already in the casino business.

“Let’s amend the constitution so we can do the same types of activities we are doing now and maximize the jobs and profits for New Yorkers.”

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Gov. Cuomo in Plattsburgh

Gov. Andrew Cuomo promoted his 2012-13 budget during a stop in Plattsburgh Friday, Feb. 3.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo promoted his 2012-13 budget during a stop in Plattsburgh Friday, Feb. 3.

The governor said one of his main priorities was education.

“Public education is big business in New York.”

And everyone has a high priced lobbyist, he said, except students.

“Well, this year that is going to change.”

Cuomo said he will become that lobbyist.

“We have a crisis in education,” he said. “It has become more about the business interests than that students interests.”

New York spends the most on education yet is ranked 38 in terms of graduation rates.

“The answer isn’t more money,” Cuomo said. “We need to focus on what is actually working for our kids. We need to focus on the performance of the education system.”

He reiterated his Feb. 16 deadline for a new evaluation system for principals and teachers or he would put one in place himself.

“We have an ambitious agenda,” Cuomo said. “It is major reform and a controversial agenda.”

Change is hard, the governor said.

“Change really comes when you make it happen,” he said. “I need you to help make this change possible. Democracy works when the people engage.”

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