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Molinaro, Nixon, Miner criticize Cuomo on economic development

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appears at an

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appears at an event at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, June 11, 2018. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — Republican candidate for governor Marc Molinaro on Friday said he would end Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s use of economic development programs to provide tax breaks and other incentives for private companies in exchange for promises of creating or retaining jobs.

Curbing the use of public funds to help private employers, many of which are campaign contributors, is shared by Working Families Party candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is running on the Serve American Movement line in an independent bid.

Molinaro said tax breaks and incentives need to be applied broadly across an industry, not to specific companies.

“The fact that this governor has been given a great deal of discretion to cut checks to private industries, to businesses specifically, has really emboldened in many ways encouraged this culture that believes that the only way to get work in Albany is to curry favor through campaign contributions and that needs to come to an end,” Molinaro said in Albany.

Cuomo, however, defends one of his highest priority efforts.

“We will not apologize for working to bring the top companies from across the globe here to New York to create the good-paying jobs of tomorrow and continue to grow the state’s economy,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer. “Apparently, the Trump Republican cheap-shot artist Marc Molinaro is a different person than the Marc Molinaro who praised the governor for bringing economic development and jobs to his hometown.”

Molinaro, Nixon and Miner note corruption trials now underway involve billions of dollars in contracts with private developers, many of whom were big contributors to Cuomo’s campaigns, and some of Cuomo’s former aides who lobbied for the developers. Neither Cuomo nor his campaign is accused of wrongdoing and the Democrat defends his multi-billion economic development program.

“As the governor has said, there is zero tolerance for any violation of the public trust and if anyone is found guilty of wrongdoing, the book should be thrown at them,” Fashouer said.

Nixon said New York needs a long-term goal to revive the economy and she would ban contributions from companies seeking state contracts as part of her anti-corruption plan to end “pay-to-play” donations from companies doing business with the state or seeking state contracts.

“My approach to economic development will rely on a partnership with local communities so that we are producing long-term, sustainable jobs,” Nixon said.

Miner, in announcing her campaign on Monday, said “both parties have been complicit in a culture of corruption.”

“I think you have to completely eliminate the economic development policies that have been abject failures and rife with corruption,” Miner said. “You have to eliminate that bureaucracy and you have to take that money and invest it in infrastructure and you have to say we are going to engage in a long-term goal of building, making sure we are economically competitive, reducing the property tax burden.”

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