Reaction To "State Of The State"

January 4, 2012 Updated Jan 4, 2012 at 8:00 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Reaction To "State Of The State"

January 4, 2012 Updated Jan 4, 2012 at 8:00 PM EDT

Eyewitness News has obtained reaction from leaders with both parties, the Seneca Nation, and officials across the state react to Cuomo's plan to rebuild New York.

Senator Kennedy Applauds $1 Billion Commitment to WNY

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, D-58th District, applauded the $1 billion investment in Western New York – which Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday in his 2012 State of the State address. While it was the brightest highlight of the speech for Western New York, the Governor also discussed his comprehensive statewide agenda for 2012.

“In outlining his vision for the year ahead, Governor Cuomo reiterated his commitment to work with our region’s leaders to spark economic growth in Buffalo and Western New York. The state’s $1 billion dollar investment will help put Western New Yorkers to work and significantly strengthen our regional economy,” said Senator Kennedy. “As we all strive to restore greatness to the Empire State, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his determined efforts to fight for economic prosperity across our state, especially in Western New York.

“Governor Cuomo understands that to make New York great once again, we need a statewide approach to economic development and job creation. It began with the launch of our Regional Economic Development Councils, and today, our statewide job creation program has grown even stronger with this $1 billion commitment to Western New York.

“This investment sends a clear message to Western New Yorkers – Governor Cuomo shares our belief that our best days are still ahead of us. We are confident that this $1 billion will unleash the potential for major economic growth in Western New York, as it will help us attract new industries, invest in existing businesses, train our workforce and improve our infrastructure.

“When it comes to making strategic state investments to spark private-sector growth, Governor Cuomo is right to target the revitalization of our transportation infrastructure and energy infrastructure. The NY Works Fund and Task Force will go a long way toward fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and it will create jobs. Ensuring energy is affordable and accessible for businesses across our state – especially in Western New York – will also lead to considerable economic activity and growth.

“Last year, by working together – Democrats and Republicans, both houses of the Legislature and the Governor – we delivered significant progress for the people of New York. There’s still much more work ahead in 2012, but if we put the politics aside and maintain our focus on growing our economy, we will continue to move New York State in the right direction. I’m looking forward to hard work ahead in the upcoming legislative session.”


ALBANY -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement regarding Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's State of the State address:

“Our state faces tough choices in the year ahead to rebuild trust in government, grow our economy and protect consumers. In today’s State of the State speech, Governor Cuomo laid out important steps to address these challenges directly, and I look forward to working together to restore faith in the public sector and in our economic system, so that all New Yorkers are given a fair shake in these tough times. The people of this state demand progress and now it’s time to deliver.”

News from New York State Senator
Michael H. Ranzenhofer

Albany, NY – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State:

“By working together in 2011, the State Legislature reduced spending and the size of government, closed a $10 billion deficit without new taxes, and lowered tax rates for the middle class. For 2012, the State Legislature must continue to work together and further build upon its successes of the prior year.

The State Legislature must again close a $3 billion deficit with cuts to spending, not with tax increases. Mandate relief – especially pension and Medicaid reform – must be passed to ensure the property tax cap works for both property taxpayers and local governments. However, the critical goal for this year should be ensuring Albany supports policies and programs that will encourage companies to locate and create jobs in Western New York.

That is why I am encouraged by the Governor’s proposal to provide $1 billion in multi-year economic development incentives for the Buffalo region, to attract major companies to invest billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in Western New York. I am even more pleased to hear his proposal for a second round of $200 million in competitive grants for our regional economic development councils.


“During his first year in office, Governor Cuomo proved to be a great partner in improving our state’s business climate and focusing on issues that matter to New York’s farmers. From the enactment of the property tax cap, to his leadership in responding to hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee, the Governor proved that he knows how to get things done.

“As we look forward to 2012, I appreciate the Governor’s continued focus on job creation and on bettering the State’s economy. As a leading industry in upstate New York and on Long Island, agriculture has the potential to be a major engine for job creation while continuing to produce and supply fresh, healthy and locally produced food to our citizens.

“In order to get our products to market, farmers depend on critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. We are encouraged by the creation of the New York Works Fund and Task Force, and hopeful that this process will lead to important improvements for farmers and their communities.

“The Governor’s commitment to expand the linked deposit program will be particularly helpful in allowing much needed investment on our farms. The need for additional dairy output is particularly timely in light of the recent boomlet of yogurt processing facilities in upstate New York. Currently the linked deposit loan program is only useful to certain farmers in particular areas of our State. Under the Governor’s proposal, we could unleash on-farm investment potential across our state by allowing all farmers to access a 3 percent reduction in loan interest for capital investment. We are also hopeful that the Governor will partner with us to raise the per project cap from $1 million to $2 million.

“We were also encouraged to see that the Governor is supportive of the creation of regional food hubs across New York State. Large retailers and restaurants need to know that a reliable source of fresh foods exist in order to encourage them to locate in our state. In addition, new food hubs with the proper cold storage capacity will allow our farmer members to pool their resources and more cost effectively bring their products to market. Capital investment in food hubs will ripple through the economy and spur job creation while providing businesses with the reliability that they need.

“In 2012 it is very important that the business community continue to work with the Governor and legislative leaders to reignite the free market spirit of our state. A vital component of this is mandate relief for our farms and local governments. Our members continue to struggle under the weight of excessive filing fees and duplicative paperwork. Passing the Let New York Farm act that has been introduced in the legislature, would only augment the Governor’s goal or ensuring that New York truly is ‘open for business’. We appreciate the Governor’s call for public hearings on this important topic and we pledge to fully participate. We also strongly endorse the Governor’s call for a yea or nay vote this session. The time is now, and our communities can’t wait even one more year for the relief that they need and deserve.


"Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his creation of a new $1 billion multi-year economic development program for the Western New York region. These dollars, over and above those funds already allocated, will go a long way toward bringing much needed jobs to our area.

“This announcement certainly affirms the Governor’s commitment to the Western New York region. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development I stand ready to do all I can to help shape this exciting new initiative and to move this process along. The sooner the implementation begins, the sooner we will see job growth and commerce that our region desperately needs.

“I know that we can be a real leader in many industry sectors, including not only the life sciences, but also the automotive and manufacturing industries centered here in the 140th Assembly District and other dynamic sectors across our region.

“Western New York has long been home to the very best workforce in the world. This infusion of investment can mean that at long last the unrealized potential of our workforce can be utilized to its fullest capacity.”


Assemblyman John Ceretto (R,I-Lewiston) today emphasized the need to create private-sector jobs and promote economic development following Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address.

“I applaud Governor Cuomo for expanding New York State’s commitment to economic development in our region. By contributing an additional $1 billion in targeted economic development to the Buffalo-Niagara region, the Governor is laying the foundation for a new and more innovative employment climate for Western New York.

“This funding, coupled with the jobs programs lawmakers passed last year and new investments to the state’s energy sector, will greatly help to revitalize Niagara County’s economy and provide for long-term job growth and prosperity.

“For too long, Western New York’s needs have been overlooked by Albany and I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is committed to investing in our region by enhancing economic development and job growth.

“I look forward to working with the Governor and my legislative colleagues, from both parties, to make 2012 a year of economic growth in order to transform Niagara County into an epicenter of new technology and long-term job opportunities.”
New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan 144th District Western New York

Assemblyman Sean Ryan attended the State of the State at which Governor Cuomo made the historic announcement that Buffalo would receive $1 billion in economic development. This is a once in a generation opportunity which will allow Western New York to regain its economic footing. This commitment will ensure economic growth and generate high quality jobs in Western New York. I applaud the Governors vision and thank him for fulfilling this campaign promise.


We accomplished much last year, and I’m optimistic that the Legislature can continue to work with Governor Cuomo to achieve more in 2012, specifically in the areas of economic development and energy.

Bringing $1 billion to Western New York will be a top priority. The scope of this undertaking is not yet firmly established, but I stand ready to work with the Governor on the details. This historic infusion of dollars, when combined with another round of funding through the Regional Council program, could launch a new era of development in our local economy.

I have long held that economic development is closely linked to our energy, and I was pleased to hear the Governor talk about improving the energy grid through substantial new investments in our existing energy infrastructure. This kind of in-state focus will help us meet our energy needs across the state, as well as create jobs and grow industries. In addition, the time to expand solar energy production is now, and the Governor’s NY-Sun Initiative sounds very promising.

Agreements in these areas and others will likely succeed in relation to the state budget, and we have to take big strides forward to close a $3 billion budget deficit. We closed a much larger deficit last year, and there’s no reason why we can’t continue to make the tough decisions necessary to improve the state’s fiscal health. Now we have a great opportunity to rein in spending and make smart decisions about how we allocate taxpayers dollars.
New York State Senator Cathy Young said, "With his delivery of the 2012 State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo has just officially kicked off the start of a new Legislative Session.

As your Senator, I am committed to making this new session as positive and productive as possible.

Last year we ended partisan gridlock by partnering with Governor Cuomo to make government function again and produce results that matter for taxpayers.

Working together we achieved many of my goals – including:

> cutting state spending and the state bureaucracy

> closing a $10 Billion deficit without raising taxes & fees

> enacting a property tax cap

> cutting taxes for middle class taxpayers

> repealing the MTA payroll tax

> reducing taxes for upstate manufacturers and

> working to create new private sector jobs

In 2012, we must build on our momentum and do even more.

It starts with early passage of a fiscally responsible state budget that cuts spending and avoids new taxes and fees.

We must pass real mandate relief, including pension reform, to protect property taxpayers and ensure that local governments and school districts stay under the tax cap.

We have to establish a statewide transportation plan to improve our infrastructure and create jobs.

But most important – we have to make New York more business-friendly to attract and retain new private sector jobs because job growth is the long term solution to our budget problems.

If we create more jobs and build a stronger economy, we will create a more prosperous New York, now and for generations to come.

Last year we made great progress, and I am going to work to make 2012 even more productive."



Statement from Assemblyman Kevin Smardz (R,I-Hamburg) on
Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address

“Today, in his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo committed $1 billion in economic development funding to the City of Buffalo and the surrounding Western New York region, further breathing new life into efforts to revitalize its economy and create sustainable jobs. This investment in Western New York is a reflection of the dedication and tremendous potential the region possesses, as well as the importance of our regional economy to the economic success of the State of New York as a whole. This commitment on the part of the state and its dedication to the development of sustainable public-private partnerships is exactly what we need to put Western New Yorkers back to work and start a new chapter in growth in this region. I fully support these initiatives and will work tirelessly to see that they come to fruition.

“Last year we fundamentally changed the culture in Albany, from how we manage our economy to our politics. In passing an on-time budget, a tax-cap and providing middle-class income tax relief, we laid a new foundation for economic growth in New York, one which does right by its citizens. We must build off that momentum in the coming session. It is important that we continue to work toward a common goal for a sustainable and prosperous New York. I remain fully dedicated to the fight to enact real mandate relief, easing the burden on our budget-strapped municipalities and efforts to put the hardworking men and women of Western New York back to work. I am confident that we will meet these goals.”


Statement From Senator Patrick M. Gallivan on the
Governor’s State of the State Address

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I - 59th District) was selected by his Senate colleagues today to give official notification to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo that the Senate is standing at ready to conduct its business for 2012. Gallivan notified the Governor prior to the annual State of the State address this afternoon, which Gallivan applauded for “its strong vision for New York State’s future” while stressing the importance of building upon the cooperation and collegiality that enabled last year’s progress.

“Governor Cuomo outlined a broad agenda for the State’s future this afternoon, articulating the urgency of our challenges and the limitless potential of our future. Last year was a year of great accomplishment, but much remains to be done. We still tax too much, we still spend too much, and good paying jobs are still too far and few between -- particularly in Western New York.

Rebuilding the Western New York Economy and providing opportunity for its families, students, seniors, businesses, and farmers remains my top priority for 2012. The Governor’s speech today signaled to me that he shares that priority. Specific proposals to invest $1 billion in the economic future of the City of Buffalo, expand and improve upon the NY-Farms program, reform and redesign New York’s failing education and pension systems, while continuing to seek ways to make government more competent, efficient and honest all point to the promise of our collective future.

I once again expect to work closely with the Governor and my colleagues in the legislature to make these goals a reality. We must also work to address the staggering cost of Medicaid, and the state’s reliance on taxes and spending. These are both still fundamental obstacles to growth and I look forward to the Governor being an engaged partner with the Senate Majority on these issues, as he has been in the past.”


The following is a statement from Congresswoman Kathy Hochul after meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy today:

“I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Duffy for the great show of support today for the Buffalo-Niagara region. After personally meeting with each of them, I was able to hear firsthand about their plans to reignite the Western New York economy. This investment in our community will show our residents that great days lie ahead.

“The sky is the limit with what we can achieve with this money, and I look forward to working with the Governor and Lt. Governor to identify and execute the best use of this funding.”
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox today released the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo's State of State address:

"The speech was well delivered, with soaring Cuomo-esque rhetoric, however in a time of financial and fiscal crisis for New York State, the question is will the Governor deliver."

"In our view the two major issues facing Albany are pension reform and mandate relief. On pension reform the Governor was very specific. The question is will he spend his political capital to produce results through the use of his extraordinary executive budgetary powers?"

"On mandate relief he was extremely vague and did not even mention Medicaid reform. Kicking the can down the road for another year is not a solution."

"While it appears he continues to want to wear republican clothes, our mission is to make sure he wears them well."

"Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his creation of a new $1 billion multi-year economic development program for the Western New York region. These dollars, over and above those funds already allocated, will go a long way toward bringing much needed jobs to our area.

“This announcement certainly affirms the Governor’s commitment to the Western New York region. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development I stand ready to do all I can to help shape this exciting new initiative and to move this process along. The sooner the implementation begins, the sooner we will see job growth and commerce that our region desperately needs.

“I know that we can be a real leader in many industry sectors, including not only the life sciences, but also the automotive and manufacturing industries centered here in the 140th Assembly District and other dynamic sectors across our region.

“Western New York has long been home to the very best workforce in the world. This infusion of investment can mean that at long last the unrealized potential of our workforce can be utilized to its fullest capacity.”
Seneca Nation Officials React to Cuomo Speech

President, councilor attend State of the State, emphasize Nation’s zone

ALBANY, NY Jan. 4, 2012 – Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter attended the State of the State speech here today and afterwards emphasized that the Nation does not oppose statewide casino gambling, but expects state lawmakers to honor state law and retain the Nation’s 14-county exclusivity zone.

Councilor Nikki Seneca joined President Porter at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s second State of the State address, traditionally the start of the legislative session here. In his speech, Cuomo mentioned amending the state Constitution to permit casino gambling, a long process that requires passage by two successive Legislatures and a public referendum of the state’s voters.

“If the governor, the state Legislature and a majority of New Yorkers decide that the best course is to permit casino gambling in New York City, the Catskills, Saratoga, the Adirondacks and so on, that’s their choice,” President Porter said. “What the Seneca Nation wants and expects is that current state law carving out an area of exclusive gaming operations for the Nation is fully retained in Western New York. Those operations belong to the Nation, separate from the state, even though the state benefits greatly from them.”

“The governor wisely recognizes the economic benefits to New York State of Indian-owned casinos. The Seneca Nation has no quarrel with the governor’s goal of bringing this success to other parts of the state,” President Porter said. “But in the course of doing so, the state must not kill the golden goose that supports the Western New York economy and must recognize our exclusivity zone.”

President Porter explained that the Nation’s regional monopoly comes at a high cost, both in money already invested and in revenues shared with the state and three host municipalities. The Nation, which invested $900 million over the last 10 years in three casinos and two resort hotels, has debt-service agreements based on that exclusive zone promise.

The zone needs to be protected by the state law on which the investment is based. The Nation’s “compact” with New York, enacted in 2002, says: : “the Nation shall have total exclusivity with respect to the installation and operation of…gaming devices, including slot machines, within the geographic area defined by…” the area west of State Route 14.

President Porter emphasized today that the 21-year agreement guarantees that the Nation’s investment would be exclusive and he expects the state to honor the law the Legislature passed and Gov. George E. Pataki signed.

In return for that exclusivity, the Nation paid the state and its casinos’ host communities – Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca – $476 million since 2002. With Indian-owned and -run casinos, the state did not have to regulate casinos, create new levels of government to manage casino business or deal with repercussions on casino-host communities.

“Paying the state close to 25 percent of our gross slot revenues is an extraordinary amount that the Nation nonetheless agreed to and paid until 2009,” Councilor Seneca said. “This is a much higher rate than the state will obtain from any commercial casino operator and it makes our exclusivity zone bought and paid for, in accordance with state law. The state must respect our mutual agreement.”

On Wednesday, the Nation opened a statewide advocacy and advertising campaign designed to emphasize its businesses’ economic contributions to Western New York and to protect its exclusive right to casino gaming in the region, regardless of what the state government does to permit casinos in New York.

The Senecas Mean Business campaign will promote the benefits of the Seneca Nation’s $1.1 billion economy, including the $125 million annual payroll for its 6,000 employees and the $167 million spent annually with local businesses and suppliers.

The campaign’s informational and educational web site is

The president noted that in a scientific poll recently conducted on the Nation’s behalf, 41 percent of all respondents knew that the Seneca Nation has a zone of gaming exclusivity in Western New York, where state law says no competing casinos are permitted. Given that New York State promised the Seneca Nation exclusivity, 71 percent of respondents felt that other casinos – especially those owned by publicly traded companies from Las Vegas or Asia that would remove profits from New York – should not be permitted in Western New York.

The campaign is also designed to increase awareness of the Nation and its rights for state legislators and average New Yorkers from other regions who may not understand its history and achievements.

Campaign organizers based the direction and strategy on the poll of 1,000 Western New Yorkers that showed overwhelming support for the Nation’s gaming operations and negligible backing for statewide casino gambling.

In the poll’s major finding, a dominant majority – 84 percent – favored continued operation of Seneca Nation gaming in its Western New York exclusivity zone and payments from it to the state and local communities. That is superior to wide-open, Las-Vegas- or Malaysian-owned commercial casinos statewide, those polled said.

On Dec. 12, the Nation formally filed for arbitration over New York’s violation of its gaming compact that guarantees the Nation a 14-county Western New York exclusivity zone for casino gambling.

The decision came after more than a year of unproductive discussions with state officials from two gubernatorial administrations. The Nation withheld what now totals more than $350 million in payments to the state, for gaming activity starting Jan. 1, 2009, because of the violations. Between 2002 and 2008, the Nation paid the state, and the three communities that host Seneca casinos, $476 million under the compact’s provisions.
Senator Grisanti's Statement on
Governor Cuomo's 2012 State of the State Address
Sen. Grisanti will continue to be bipartisan and put people first, not politics.

" I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo, the Senate and the Assembly during my second legislative session. I will continue to put people first, not politics as we carry on our momentum from our first legislative session. I again have no problem crossing party lines to do what is right for Western New York, not downstate special interest groups.

" Additionally, I applaud Governor Cuomo who realizes the potential Western New York has. By investing $1 Billion into Western New York, this should attract businesses to come to our area. As I stated a few weeks ago when I introduced Governor Cuomo at the University of Buffalo, I introduced him as "Western New York's new best friend" he has certainly lived up to that expectation.

The Governor is appropriately focusing on the progress from last year to fix the state’s financial troubles and restore New York to economic prosperity. Clearly, work remains, but the Governor has propose measures to move us forward.

Our economy remains fragile and our fiscal future precarious. We must be extra vigilant in monitoring our financial position so we stay on course. We must not return to the fiscal gimmicks of the past. We must rise to meet our ongoing challenge of aligning spending with revenues.

The Governor’s call to keep our finances in order, invest in
infrastructure and help local communities weather this fiscal crisis
reflect the difficult economic realities we face.

Last year, we saw what bi-partisan cooperation can achieve. In 2012, it is critical that we continue to work together to achieve needed results for New York. I look forward to working with the Governor and seeing the details of his specific proposals when he releases his 2012-2013 budget.
The announcement that Governor Cuomo is committing one billion dollars to economic development in Buffalo will accelerate the city's transformation. As a member of the Governor's Economic Advisory Council, I've had the opportunity to highlight many of Buffalo's assets including one of the lowest effective tax rates in the state and 350 shovel ready acres that my administration has assembled to pave the way for business investment and job creation. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his focus on economic development statewide and this tremendous investment in the future of Buffalo.

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released the following statement in response to news that Governor Andrew Cuomo will commit New York State to spending $1 billion on a multi-year economic development program to attract new industry to Buffalo and Erie County.

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that he will commit $1 billion to attract new industry to Buffalo and Erie County is incredible news. With the recent awarding of $100 million through the new state regional economic development council and the news today, it is increasingly apparent that Governor Cuomo cares about western New York’s future and is committed to fostering real economic development initiatives in Buffalo and Erie County. This is exactly the type of leadership and investment from the State that our region sorely needs to stop the exodus and start to grow our economy. I am very interested to hear all the details on this plan during the State of the State speech this afternoon, and I look forward to continue working closely with the Governor on this and other economic development initiatives going forward.”