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Politics

What we're looking at in Cuomo's "transformational plan"

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Governor Cuomo has outlined a plan to "transform" New York into a job creating, business friendly, low taxing machine.

Today during his first State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined what he's calling a "transformational plan for New York."  Here are the parts of the plan that the Innovation Trail is looking to learn more about, as people who report about the innovation economy in New York State.

 Think of it as a scorecard - we'll come back to these issues periodically during the Cuomo administration, and check how the good folks in Albany are doing.

Creating regional economic councils: Cuomo says he'll set up job creating councils, filled with private business people, local officials and representatives from academia.  Lt. Governor Duffy will oversee the councils, and the councils will build job creation plans.  Then they'll be pitted against each other to compete for state money to bring those plans to life.  Emma Jacobs is looking into the proposal.

Making Power for Jobs permanent: Right now the program has to be reauthorized on a regular basis, which business boosters argue is tough on the manufacturing firms that receive low-cost hydropower through it.  Cuomo wants to institute long-term contracts through a permanent program, to help businesses plan better for the future. Daniel Robison is on the case.

Fixing the Excelsior Jobs Program: Excelsior replaced Empire Zones (which was called a "gross failure" by the Citizens Budget Commission of New York).  The state agency that administers the program says it'll hold business accountable for job creation when they get incentives in the form of public money.  But Cuomo wants to reform the program already, including doling out payments as job creation milestones are met, giving tax credits for R&D work, and streamlining the application process.  Daniel is checking into this too.

Expanding the availability of New York agricultural products in urban centers:  This one should be near and dear to our semi-homemade first lady, who's made hunger her key issue.  Cuomo is proposing to create green markets in urban areas to combat the problem of food deserts, and to promote New York agriculture.  Emma's tackling this story too.

"Cleaner, greener" communities: Cuomo wants to issue competitive grants to communities to install green projects like rain gardens and green roofs.  

Expanding minority and women-owned businesses: Cuomo is ordering state agencies to double the business they do with so-called MWBE, to 20 percent.  Ryan Morden will report.

Mandates and property taxes: Though taking a slice of your income to raise revenue hardly seems innovative, we do like to look at taxation issues here at the Innovation Trail.  That's because those issues  affect the ability of individuals to become entrepreneurs, and the ability of communities to launch new initiatives that could help redefine their economic fortunes.  So we're going to be looking at Cuomo's proposed $100,000 grant program to help communities consolidate redundant government services, the property tax cap proposal, and the subsequent demands from county and town officials for mandate relief.  Emma's covering this angle.

Have your own questions, or something you want us to track down?  Leave us a comment, ask us on Twitter or Facebook, or ask a trail guide.  

Want to read Cuomo's entire State of the State address?  It's embedded below, provided courtesy of the governor's press office.

Cuomo Sots

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