GOP lawmaker changes stance on regional councils
Remember Governor Cuomo's regional economic councils? They were gone, and then in the final budget they were back.
Now one member of the Republican leadership in the State Senate says he's had a change of heart about the governor's plan for growing jobs.
Speaking in mid-March, Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) said he was "not sold" on the idea of regional economic councils.
"I've gone to companies," Libous said. "I give sales pitches because I believe in my community and probably I can give a better sales pitch than someone in economic development."
In January, Governor Cuomo proposed 10 regional councils for coordinating economic development efforts across the state. After being nixed from the Senate's version of the budget, the councils ultimately made their way back into the final budget - scoring $130 million in funding.
In Binghamton on Friday, Senator Libous said a series of conversations with the governor helped him to change his mind on the councils.
"He said we could make recommendations to the councils, that we would have say in some of the dollar expenditures, where they would go to businesses," Libous explained. "I'd say we're going to do this on a trust basis and see where it takes us."
"I know it's probably going to surprise a lot of people," Libous said. "[But] so far, I would say I trust Governor Cuomo."
The councils will be overseen by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy.