Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday told hundreds of business leaders in Woodbury she would support pandemic recovery with infrastructure funding and tax incentives that would show "Long Island is back."
Hochul touted elements of her proposed $216.3 billion budget that would provide funding for roads, affordable housing, the Long Island Rail Road and water quality improvements.
About 300 people attended in-person and another 400 tuned in virtually for Hochul's remarks at the Long Island Association's State of The Region Breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, and Republican Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman attended, along with members of Long Island's State Senate delegation and various municipal leaders.
Hochul, a Democrat who is seeking her first full term in office this year, spoke about boosting aid to small businesses and local school districts, along with institutions such as Stony Brook University, "to make that a flagship organization that'll draw people from around the world who say, this is where the smartest people go."
She continued: "And what we do here on Long Island, with business leaders like all of you, we'll send a message — that yes, not just Long Island is back, but show the nation that New York State is back. You may have taken us down hard during this pandemic, but we are coming back stronger than ever before."
In their remarks, Bellone and Blakeman called for compromise over partisanship.
"Compromise can't be a dirty word," Bellone said. "In fact it is the essential ingredient for progress in a democracy."
Blakeman, who has opposed Hochul's mandate that masks be worn indoors in schools amid the pandemic, joked about Hochul's remark at the breakfast that she'd give him whatever he wants if he wears a mask.
"You heard her: She said if I wear a mask I can have whatever I want," Blakeman said.
"Governor, if you give Nassau County $5 billion, I'll wear a straitjacket and a muzzle if that suits you," Blakeman said.