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KOLB COLUMN: Fact-checking Governor Cuomo as 2019 begins

According to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, New York is one of only nine states in the nation to see its population drop over the past year. In fact, its loss of 48,510 residents from July 2017 to July 2018 was the most of any state, beating out Illinois by more than 3,000 residents. We are at risk of losing two seats in the House of Representatives as a result of the population decrease—that’s two voices for the people of this state, two advocates for funding and policies that impact us every day. Gov. Cuomo seems far too comfortable with that possibility.

Actually, if you asked the governor he would tell you everything is fine. He continues to parade around as if the state’s economy isn’t in disarray, yet our nationally-embarrassing taxes, broken economic development programs and historic corruption continue to hold back any chance at growth. There are gaping holes in his 100-day agenda, which ignored so much of what is wrong with New York. He has no real plan to fix this because, sadly, his rose-colored glasses have him thinking his programs are actually working.

ADMINISTRATION NEEDS A REALITY CHECK

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul recently bragged about how well New York is doing when it comes to retaining its residents and stated they are “flocking” to our state.

“For the first time in my life, millennials want to stay in their hometowns,” said Hochul. “Downtowns are coming back to life.”

This is a curious claim considering the recent census bureau report showing nearly every other state in the union besides New York is actually experiencing what she is describing. Compounded by the overwhelming list of state rankings showing how incredibly difficult it is to live in New York, her claim is even harder to believe. The first step to fixing a problem, they say, is to admit you have one.

Unfortunately, the governor has chosen to ignore the long-standing home-grown problems he created or enabled, and instead focus on criticizing the Trump White House. In a recent radio interview, the governor was asked about how he will fix the MTA public transportation disaster—another problem crippling our economy.

“My main job now, at this time in history, is I’m fighting the federal government, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” Cuomo said.

Actually, governor, your “main job” is to fix New York’s many, many fundamental problems. It might help to acknowledge 1.2 million residents packed up and left during the last 10 years – and not because of the weather. Improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers by repairing the crumbling infrastructure, lowering taxes and eliminating wasteful, ineffective economic development programs is your “main job.” In 2019, there must be a ground-up approach to getting our residents to stay here and thrive; otherwise we’re going to continue being the biggest losers when it comes to the human capital contest for a long, long time.

This is a republished column written by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua).

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