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State, White Plains Talk Economic Development

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and state Assembly member Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) invited Leccia Eve, New York’s deputy secretary of economic development, to outline initiatives aimed at improving the local economy at the White Plains Library Friday.

Leecia Eve told the audience that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo planned to bridge a $2 billion deficit by cutting what have previously been automatically inflated elements of the state budget and reducing spending by $225 million.

Cuomo hopes to spur more job creation by working with the private sector to create a $4 billion convention center in Queens and organize a $2 billion “energy highway task force” to trim down energy bills, according to Eve. Neither of these initiatives would receive state funding.

“An energy highway task force is going to issue a request for proposals and hold a conference on options with the governor on June 1 of this year as to how we are going to build and bid a new energy highway,” said Eve.

Eve said the state could anticipate approximately $1 billion in additional revenue if the state legislature approves Cuomo’s legislation to legalize casino gambling.

The governor hopes to streamline redundancies in state agencies, such as the 91 job training programs spread out across 13 bodies, to save additional funding.

“The Department of Labor alone was 40 separate job training programs,” said Eve. “So what the governor has talked about is what he calls a sage on steroids.”

Eve also discussed a multi-year plan to cap state’s shares of Medicaid payments, raising employee contribution rates for new hires, and improving the pension system.

Roach, a Democrat, said he thinks Cuomo has improved New York’s reputation among businesses.

“Outside of this state and within the state there’s hope now. There was a resignation that we can’t compete. We were a high tax state. How can we possibly compete with the rest of the country? And that’s almost overnight transformed. That makes it so much easier for us as a municipality when we have a corporation that wants to come in, we don’t have to convince them,” he said.

Paulin said she grew tired of state budgets continuously driving property taxes until Cuomo came into office.

“It didn’t matter what governor it was, frankly, the same proposals were in there and we were always fighting them back because of the perception that we are a community of wealth. There’s always a desire to take some of that away and we’re always fighting those same exact battles. This budget when it was presented we were just almost in shock that we didn’t have the same budget battles,” she said.

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