Republican Suffolk County executive candidate Angie Carpenter Tuesday called for the creation of a small-business advocate in the county executive's office, a 10-year county economic development plan and a regional approach to build the local economy.
In her first 100 days in office, Carpenter said she "will travel this great county from Melville to Montauk . . . to meet with top employers to understand what Suffolk can do not only to keep these businesses . . . but help them expand and flourish."
County Treasurer Carpenter laid out her plan after Democratic county executive contender Steve Bellone, the Babylon supervisor, a month ago put forward his own economic plan calling for creation of 1,000 new jobs and "innovation zones" like North Carolina's Research Triangle to encourage research, and use of $500,000 in local industrial development agency fees as start-up capital for businesses.
Carpenter, in her news conference at USA Industries in Bay Shore, maintained Bellone has "no practical plan" for economic recovery. "Recycling ideas that might work in New York City or Washington will not work here in Suffolk," she said.
However, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said Carpenter's proposals were a rehash. "Angie Carpenter is recycling the same three ideas she's brought for 18 years in county government -- more bureaucrats, more patronage and more spending," he said.
Carpenter's plan was unveiled two days before both candidates square off in their first debate at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury Thursday before a business crowd expected to be more than 500.
Like Bellone, Carpenter called for speeding up county permitting processes, but she also called for periodic sunsetting of regulations so they come up for review and zero-based county budgeting. Her small-business advocate, she said, will help small-business owners navigate through county government and she plans to standardize county procurement procedures to make it easier for small businesses to compete for county contracts.
Carpenter also said her 10-year economic development plan will seek a regional approach along with specific community plans. She said she has already consulted with top officials in Nassau and Westchester to begin plotting regional strategies. She also called for a five-year budget plan and a 10-year capital program so the county can prioritize long-term needs.
Desmond Ryan, executive director of Association for a Better Long Island, declined to rate which plan is better. "Like most economic plans, the proof is in the implementation," he said.