Assemblyman Weisenberg Facilitates Economic Development Discussion

November 28, 2011
Pictured at the Economic Development Meeting are (left to right): Mark Tannenbaum, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce; Assemblyman Weisenberg; Joseph Pontecorvo, Island Park Library Trustee; and Alan Rosenberg, owner of the Allegria Hotel.
In July, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce the creation of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. Part of a new initiative establishing region-based approaches for allocating state economic development funds, the council recently released its “Vision Statement” for Long Island’s future.

To ensure that the Long Island council is aware of local concerns and priorities along the South Shore, Assemblyman Weisenberg invited Desmond Ryan, a member of the council, to the Oceanside Library to meet with representatives from local chambers of commerce, civic associations and business improvement districts.

“It is important for our business leaders to speak with Mr. Ryan so that he understands exactly what our local priorities are,” Weisenberg said. “The community-based approach is a major upgrade from the top-down model that, historically, had not met our needs in Nassau County. Hopefully, the new regional program will allow us to capitalize on our unique strengths.”

Issues discussed included property and school taxes, affordable housing for young people, businesses leaving the state, tax incentives for small businesses, empty stores and buildings, the struggles of low-income families and green initiatives in the challenging economy. Mr. Ryan listened to the assembled representatives and answered questions, making it clear that he would convey concerns to the regional council when they met, said Weisenberg.

“Allowing those who drive the local economy to have a voice is what this is all about,” said Weisenberg. “Nobody knows what works for Nassau County better than those who live and do business here.”

The Long Island Economic Development Council is chaired by Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, and Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, and made up of local leaders from National Grid, Verizon Communications, the national security and defense industries, local universities, labor and health care, among others.