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The Dansville Online
  • Perales drums for Cuomo in Geneseo

  • It was standing room only inside the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce board room last Thursday as more than 40 people came out to hear New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales present Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

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  • It was standing room only inside the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce board room last Thursday as more than 40 people came out to hear New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales present Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
    Perales’ visit was part of an effort on behalf of the governor to get his message out to the people of New York.
    Chamber president Cynthia Oswald received a request from the governor’s office for the visit just a few days prior.
    “We’re fortunate that we were selected by the governor’s office as one of those key locations that Secretary of State Perales was going to come to,” Oswald said.
    “To be able to bring this close to home is an excellent partnership between the governor’s office, the chamber of commerce and the community.”
    Oswald is a member of the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council for the Finger Lakes region.
    Regarding the council, it was one of the items that began the presentation as among the governor’s list of achievements.
    The closure of a $10 billion deficit “with no gimmicks and on time,” enacting the state’s first-ever property tax cap, closing 3,800 prison beds across the state, eliminating MTA payroll tax, among others, was also on the governor’s achievement list.
    Perales took a moment to address the state’s recent change in the tax code. Previously, there was a single tax rate across the board, but with the change, “the more you make, the higher the rate you pay in taxes because New York says a flat tax is not a fair tax.”
    Perales said that with the new tax code, “today, the middle class pays the lowest tax rate in this state in 58 years.”
    After the year in review, Perales spoke about the governor’s three-part plan for 2012.
    The first part is to implement the next phase of the economic blueprint for growth; part two is a reimagined government “that can make our plans a reality,” and part three is a “New York vision for a progressive future.”
    Perales then spoke in detail about each part of the governor’s plan.
    The economic blueprint encompasses expanding tourism in New York, which includes supporting the construction of the largest convention center in the nation, which he said would result in creating “tens of thousands of jobs.”
    Other economic development plans include continuing the Regional Economic Development Council’s efforts, which he said last year exceeded expectations; amending the state constitution to allow casino gambling; and making a concerted effort to rebuild substandard infrastructure through creating the New York Works Fund and Task Force by bringing together leading private and public sector experts who, “are going to coordinate, who are going to leverage and are going to excellerate our capital programs.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The second part of the governor’s plan — reorganizing government — was broken down into three pieces. The first piece includes closing a $2 billion deficit with no new taxes and no new fees; enacting mandate relief; reforming the pension system; helping local governments work cohesively; and developing a mandate relief council.
    The second piece also includes bettering public education. Perales said that everyone associated with education has a lobbyist except for the students. “The governor says, he’s going to be the [student’s] lobbyist. He’s taken on a second job,” Perales said.
    The third piece to a reorganized government is bettering public safety, which includes having a more organized response to crises such as the flooding in the Southern Tier last year.
    Perales said the governor aims to develop the best emergency management system in the country.
    The third part of the governor’s vision was to develop a progressive future for New York.
    This includes establishing a Foreclosure Relief Unit to help New Yorkers stay in their homes and apartments; expand Minority and Women in Business opportunities; and distribute a competitive $20 million to three SUNY?campuses across the state.
    The governor also wants to increase food stamp benefits; expand the DNA databank to not only help in convicting felons, but to also exhonorate the innocent; to simplify the tax code and to develop campaign finance reform.
    A transcript of the governor’s State of the State address is available at governor.ny.gov/sl2/stateofthestate2011transcript.

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