It's a job often handled by a member of the governor's cabinet. But the North Country had Governor Cuomo, himself, pay a visit to deliver the regional budget address Tuesday at Clarkson University. As our Barry Wygel tells us, with a struggling economy in the North Country, Cuomo tried to make it clear that he understood the specific needs of the region.
POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Clarkson University gave Matthew Turcotte a unique opportunity.
"This is a new way of creating and supporting businesses in the North Country. Where if a student has an idea, they can work with the university and make that idea a reality by the time that they graduate," said Matthew Turcotte, a Clarkson junior.
Matthew has recently expanded the company he started and bought an office building in Watertown. He did this as part of the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship, where he received help from the university to expand his business. Governor Cuomo took note of this program and decided to adapt it for a statewide use.
"We'll invest in your business as a state, the way Clarkson did, we'll invest in your business, but you have to commit to stay here in the state of New York and in the meantime you'll pay no taxes during that initial phase," said Governor Cuomo.
These innovation hot spots will be operated through the already existing Regional Economic Development Councils, which have brought millions of dollars into the North Country. Cuomo also reiterated his proposal to build three casinos upstate, and a new advertising competition meant to drive downstate residents to upstate attractions.
"We're going to have a $5 million advertising competition for the region that comes up with the best marketing plan for that region," said Cuomo.
While people in the North Country sometimes feel they are forgotten by state leaders in Albany, Cuomo said he is committed to the North Country and says it will always have a special place in his heart.
"It is beautiful, it is natural, the people are special, and I come up here whenever I can," said Cuomo.
Cuomo also praised the work of Clarkson president Tony Collins, who in addition to co-chairing the Economic Development Council, has worked with Cuomo on a number of initiatives.