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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ALBANY — Assemblywoman Jane Corwin said Tuesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's second-term agenda is "politically driven" and "lacks direction and economic reform."

The Clarence Republican expressed frustration via press release at the governor's stance on fracking and his desire to further raise the minimum wage.

Corwin's press release follows below in its entirety:
After a plethora of base pandering speeches in recent weeks by Governor Cuomo and other legislative leaders, there are indications that the upcoming legislative agenda will tackle political issues and would avoid furthering our state’s economic recovery and growth.

The tone has already been set by the Governor’s decision to balk at hydraulic fracturing, an opportunity to be at the forefront of an energy source that could bring a multibillion dollar industry to our state, create hundreds of long term quality jobs, and produce an American made energy that is transportable overseas.

Even according to New York State’s own Department of Environmental Conservation’s Economic Impact Study on Hydraulic Fracturing, the estimated impact of a mere mid-range development scenario is over 17,600 new jobs in the energy industry alone.  The full employment impact of this industry is estimated to be over 53,000 jobs with an earning capacity of over $2.5 Billion.

We still have an opportunity to make strides in our economic growth.  With a reported payout from legal settlements with banks and financial institutions of $5.1 billion, now is the time to invest in not only our State’s transportation infrastructure, but our energy infrastructure as well.  The New York Energy Highway is an initiative that would expand and update the energy infrastructure throughout our state.  While this has been supported by Governor Cuomo and upstate lawmakers and communities, there has been little discussion of how we can make this plan a reality.

In the governor’s own words, “The Energy Highway initiative will ensure that New Yorkers have reliable, affordable clean power to meet the electricity needs of a strong and growing economy.  [This] project has the potential to create thousands of jobs and stimulate billions of dollars in private investment in order to rebuild New York's energy infrastructure.”  I will urge the governor to, quite literally, put our money where his mouth is, and propose during budget negotiations that this initiative be a priority when allocating any surplus funding.

Another item that has received attention is a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour with annual escalators that will increase the wage based on inflation.  I have spoken with many business owners across the state, and there is an overwhelming concern with businesses struggling to stay afloat in such an unfriendly business state like New York.

There has been an undeniable resurgence of small business and development in Western New York, and while government dollars can be used to initiate development, the private sector must have the ability to sustain that growth and provide return on the investment.  We must continue to create growth by loosening regulations and lowering taxes so businesses can hire more employees, give pay increases and grow the economy one job at a time.  The answer should not be to hamstring business owners with mandates that will undo all the good accomplished in the last few years.

We can only hope that early indications are pure pandering and not the “marching orders” for the upcoming session.

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