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Governor Cuomo outlines impact for Finger Lakes in 2016 State of the State

On Wednesday Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his plans for New York State in his State of the State and budget address, which offered a peak into what state residents can expect out of 2016 from their elected officials. While the governor had been touring in the weeks leading up to the address, giving an insight to some of his plans, as well as an outline of his 14 current proposals – many in the Finger Lakes region wondered what kind of benefits upstate New York would see.We’ve highlighted key proposals, as well as some of the key moments inside Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address:Booed by a hecklerGov. Andrew Cuomo started his address by dealing with some of the overall economic tones here in New York State. He said, “We stand stronger than in any point in history,” and that “the Empire State is poised to grow and lead.” Moreover, Gov. Cuomo reiterated these successes by pointing out that the state of the state is strong in New York.However, amid all of that, Gov. Cuomo was interrupted by the Assemblyman from the 42nd district here in New York, who momentarily derailed Cuomo’s address. After, Assemblyman Charles Barron of Brooklyn was escorted out – things got back on track. The two had a brief, and volatile exchange over the true state of the state.Reducing the tax burden for upstate New YorkersGov. Cuomo highlighted some of the problems that still face upstate New York – like high property taxes. He pointed out that the tax burden in New York had been reduced by $114 billion over the course of the last several years under his watch. He spoke about his Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition, which would grant millions to upstate communities who work to consolidate services, government, and other features within villages, towns, and counties to harbor growth through reducing the property tax burden.Gov. Cuomo said, “This competition will help local governments find innovative ways to reduce costs and lower taxes for their constituents – which will make it cheaper to live, work and thrive in their communities. This is about building a stronger and more prosperous New York over the long haul, and I am eager to help our local partners across the state move forward.”One of those innovative ways is through dissolution, which has been subject to serious debate in the Finger Lakes. Especially in communities like Macedon, where those living in the village are being promised a less expensive government. The importance of this proposal is that it would require communities to create and keep a plan.Tourism and infrastructure gets a boost in the Finger LakesTourism and infrastructure were major portions of Gov. Cuomo’s address, which pointed to the investment that is necessary in upstate. He pointed to a $20 billion economic plan to grow upstate New York, an investment of $1 billion into the New York State Thruway, and a 5-year plan, which would carry a $22 billion investment to level the playing field between upstate and downstate New York. Gov. Cuomo said that there would be an allocation of “$1 billion of settlement funds to maintain and improve the Thruway system.” He went on to point out that a toll freeze through 2020 would coincide with this as well. He went on to point out that inside this proposal it would leave room to reduce the tolls for frequently travelers by half, and end tolls for the agricultural sector over the next several years.A part of this investment would also be a $250 million investment into water infrastructure upstate, along with another investment into upstate airports. He went on to point out the importance of the “I Love NY” campaign, which he proposed will receive a $50 million boost to ensure tourism remains a key in upstate New York. Gov. Cuomo said during his address, “When people see upstate NY they love upstate New York and the I Love NY campaign is the way to do that.”Gov. Cuomo also pointed to growth by four-fold and seven-fold respectively in the wine industry, as well as the brewing industry. He pointed out that there is still room for improvement, and something that should be expanded on significantly heading into 2016. While the Finger Lakes might have felt somewhat left out in the State of the State address, there was a lot of positive that came out, as well. Most notably spending will be equalized in upstate New York, and it will definitely have impacts on local communities. Whether we’re talking about tourism, the wine industry, or dissolution – all of these matters were headlines in Gov. Cuomo’s address.For more on the 2016 State of the State Address & to watch or read the speech in it’s entirety, visit www.governor.ny.gov.Let us know what you thought of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address in the comments below, and check back at FingerLakes1.com for the latest news and updates from around the Finger Lakes.

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