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Scozzafava talks ‘state’

Dede Scozzafava, a member of the Cuomo administration, stopped in Plattsburgh at the North Country Chamber of Commerce to relay the governor’s vision for the state.

Dede Scozzafava, a member of the Cuomo administration, stopped in Plattsburgh at the North Country Chamber of Commerce to relay the governor’s vision for the state. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Scozzafava said the state needs to rebuild its infrastructure with 32 percent of bridges labeled deficient and 40 percent of roads rated poor. But there needs to be one coordinated approach to infrastructure in the state, and everyone needs to have a better idea of how the state is moving forward.

Part of that plan entails improving more than 100 bridges and repairing 2,000 miles of roads.

Part two of the plan would reinvent government, Scozzafava said. Cuomo envision a government that performs better and costs less.

It would close the remaining $2 billion deficit without new taxes and fees.

“We must do more on mandate relief,” Scozzafava said. “This year we will continue to work on mandate relief.”

She described a mandate relief council and public hearings that would culminate in a mandate relief package that would go before the Legislature.

From 2009 to 2013, there is a predicted 100 percent increase in pension costs. Pension reform is a must, she said.

Scozzafava said everyone in education has a lobbyist except the students, and Cuomo plans to be that lobbyist.

“His office will lobby for children in New York state,” she said. “The purpose of education is to help children grow.”

Currently, New York state is number one in education spending and ranks 38 in graduation rates.

“We need major reform,” Scozzafava said. “We need to be number one in achievement and we cannot fail.”

Part three is the state’s vision for a progressive future.

The financial crisis is taking a “terrible” toll on homeowners, Scozzafava said, and Cuomo is recommending a foreclosure relief unit to help people stay in their homes.

One in six children in New York live in homes without enough food, yet 30 percent of families eligible for food stamps do not enroll in the program.

“We need to promote outreach, end the stigma and increase enrollment,” Scozzafava said.

Cuomo would further expand the DNA database to include all crimes and close loopholes and help small businesses by simplifying the tax code.

“Last year was a historic success, but there’s much more to do,” Scozzafava said. “We are New Yorkers and need to work together to make this the best state it can be.”

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