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NYS economic development chief says business climate is a top priority

Courtesy photo
Empire State Development
Ken Adams is the governor's newly appointed Empire State Development president. He spoke to business leaders in Albany today.

While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was kicking off his "People First Campaign" in Syracuse today, his economic development chief Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), stayed behind in Albany to transmit the governor's economic message to local business leaders.

Adams framed Cuomo's legislative agenda in economic terms, saying "We've got to improve the business climate in the state." Adams spoke to about 100 business and civic leaders at Albany Molecular Research, Inc., a global pharmaceutical research company based in the Capital Region.

Topping Cuomo's list of legislative priorities for the current session:

  • A property tax cap,
  • Ethics reform for New York legislators, and
  • Marriage equality. 

Adams told the crowd that allowing same-sex couples to marry is more than just a social issue for the state; it’s a way to keep New York competitive in the business world and keep workers from moving away.
"Let's do what's right from a civil rights standpoint," Adams says, "[and] what makes sense for economic development."

Adams also argued that current tax rates in New York State drive people and businesses away - his solution, Cuomo's proposed tax cap plan that would hold local governments and school districts to a two percent increase per year.

"Our sky-high tax rates have a devastating effect on the state's economy," says Adams.

As for ethics reforms in Albany, Adams insisted the measure is a crucial step to building relationships with businesses.

"Companies who want to invest in New York  want to know that back at the state capitol there is a government they can trust and people they can trust," says Adams.

Adams was vague about the governor's plan to form 10 regional councils to disburse economic development funds throughout the state.  He did note that each council will have a cross-section of stakeholders working to promote economic growth in their respective regions, but he wouldn't elaborate on who those key players will be, or how many will participate.

"It can't be hundreds of people, because they have to build consensus," Adams says.

WMHT/Capital Region reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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