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Gov. Cuomo touts conservative accomplishments in speech to business group

BOLTON LANDING — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tried to woo business leaders Tuesday, regaling them with his accomplishments while dismissing an ambitious property tax-cut proposal by Republican nominee Marc Molinaro.

“All the arrows are pointed up,” Cuomo told the Business Council of New York State, an influential business lobby whose endorsement Cuomo and Molinaro are seeking for the November election.

The speech marked a pivot for Cuomo, who spent much of his second term burnishing the progressive credentials he touted during his successful Democratic primary campaign against actress and education activist Cynthia Nixon.

Cuomo says those accomplishments include enactment of a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. He also has promised to help Democrats wrest control of the state Senate from more fiscally conservative Republicans.

But before the business leaders on Tuesday, Cuomo focused on centrist, fiscally conservative initiatives from his first term, from 2011 through 2014.

Cuomo noted unemployment is 4.2 percent statewide, down from 8.5 percent when he took office; 1 million new jobs have been created in what has become the largest work force — 8.1 million — in state history; and state spending rose by only 1.4 percent.

Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, on Monday laid out a plan to cut property taxes by 30 percent. He proposed capping state spending — rather than Cuomo’s cap of 2-percent growth per year — and making the state take over the local government share of Medicaid, the health care program for low-income residents. 

“The Empire State Freedom Plan,” Molinaro said Monday, “will deliver the largest property tax reduction in the history of the state of New York.”

Cuomo, however, called the plan “just a shell game sham.” Cuomo said Tuesday after ticking off his own accomplishments including a 2-percent cap on spending and property tax growth.

Cuomo said the state can’t afford Molinaro’s proposal to take over $7 billion in local government spending on Medicaid.

“You would have to raise taxes on the state side or you’d have to cut education,” Cuomo said.

State & Region