ESD: Cuomo's "billion for Buffalo" comes with strings attached
Former Buffalo assemblyman Sam Hoyt was in the Rochester area Friday delivering Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2012 budget address.
It was mostly a recap of Cuomo's 2011 legislative victories and a brief sketch of the governor's 2012 priorities.
But one thing was not mentioned: Cuomo's billion-dollar pledge to the state's second-largest city.
"I can assure you that Andrew Cuomo is not giving a blank check to Buffalo," Hoyt, now a senior VP at Empire State Development, said after the presentation.
"If they come up with a half-assed plan, the governor's going to reject it," said Hoyt. "There's no, 'Here's your billion dollars, spend it as you please.' If they use it as pork, or member items, the governor will say, 'Sorry, you blew it. You blew this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' "
Hoyt says the Cuomo administration is focused on helping all upstate cities. He says that starts with making New York State more business friendly, which Hoyt calls "the governor's number one goal."