Assemblymember Cahill: Budget Creates Jobs, Provides Boost to Hudson Valley Businesses
“The days of a one-size fits all approach to economic development are over,” exclaimed Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess). “We have passed a budget that makes available the resources to allow our communities to develop a regional approach towards improving our economy and infrastructure while maintaining the quality of life that is unique to the Hudson Valley.” The economic development provisions include a wide range of resources for economic revitalization, focusing on key initiatives including tourism, high-tech programs and affordable housing, as well as support for research and development, including stem cell research.
Major local initiatives include:
- $250,000 to fund the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission. The Commission will play a key role in preparing the Hudson Valley for the 2009 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the historic Hudson and Champlain journeys along the river and lake that bear their names – and the 200th anniversary of Fulton’s successful steamboat voyage and subsequent establishment of steam commerce on the Hudson River. Assemblymember Cahill was also able to secure an additional $30,000 to assist local communities and organizations in their planning for this celebration – an event that is expected to attract tourists from all over the world.
- $500,000 for the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation to assist in their ongoing campaign to attract, retain and expand business opportunities in the Hudson Valley by marketing buildings and sites that have already gone through the local land-use planning process and have been identified for development or redevelopment.
- $85,000 for the Cornell Hudson Valley Laboratory to assist in efforts to conduct applied research to improve the production of local fruit and vegetable crops while helping Hudson Valley growers market their products by capitalizing on their close proximity to the millions of consumers located in the New York City metropolitan area.
Key statewide economic development provisions included in the budget are as follows:
- $500 million for stem cell research that will create high-paying, high-tech jobs for the state;
- More than $3.4 million in additional funding for the Urban and Community Development Program in Economically Distressed Areas;
- $1.8 million for the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program that helps entrepreneurs – including women, minorities and dislocated workers – create businesses;
- Business tax relief through reductions in the corporate tax rate and for manufacturers to help strengthen the upstate economy, and
- $30 million for a new Dairy Assistance Program to help boost the state’s dairy industry.
“Governor Spitzer recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to economic development,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “We have passed a budget that will ensure he has the resources necessary to take that important step along a new path of stability and prosperity by utilizing New York’s many resources and strengths.”
The Legislature accepted the Executive proposal to withhold funding for the administration of the Empire Zone program – labeled flawed and ineffective – while the Governor’s economic development teams works on key reforms. “Once we are able to implement the policy changes necessary to finally hold businesses receiving state job creation funding accountable for their performance, we will focus on providing our local governments with the proper resources to run the revamped program,” said Mr. Cahill.
The budget also allocates $16 million – an almost 50 percent increase – for the “I Love New York” program to draw more visitors from around the globe, a measure the Assembly has consistently called for. In addition, the plan includes nearly $5.3 million for tourism matching grants – an increase of $500,000 from last year. Locally, Mr. Cahill was successful in directing state grants for the historic Palatine Farmland Restoration project in Rhinebeck, the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston and the Rondout Valley Growers Association to promote local farms.
The plan provides $100 million in continuing support for the Restore NY Communities Initiative, created by the Assembly last year to clean-up and revitalize blighted, aging neighborhoods and restore hope in New York’s distressed communities. “Along with countless buildings in various states of disrepair, these vacant dwellings drive down property values, erode the tax base, hinder commercial development and provide cover for criminal activity in the neighborhoods where they are located,” Assemblymember Cahill explained. “This budget looks beyond the boarded-up windows and burned-out buildings in these neighborhoods and invests in the real potential of our communities.”