January 13, 2012: Transcript of Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Leecia Eve

TOP January 13, 2012: Transcript of Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Leecia Eve

Read the transcript from the web chat with Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Leecia Eve on January 13, 2012.

Leecia Eve said:
Hi, my name is Leecia Eve and I am the Governor's Deputy Secretary for Economic Development. I am one of the members of the Governor’s Team who has been speaking to communities this past week, delivering the Governor's 2012 State of the State message directly to the people. I've been talking about his 3-part plan, including a new economic blueprint for creating tens of thousands of jobs, reimagining government and ensuring a progressive future for New York. You can learn more about the Governor's agenda at Governor.NY.gov, including plans to build the largest convention center in the nation and a second round of grants for the Regional Economic Development Councils. Today, I'm eager to answer your questions on the Governor's proposals and talk more about how his agenda will boost the economy in 2012.

Question from Jill in Westchester County:
The mature worker (55-65 yr old) has a more difficult time getting a new job and yet needs to be gainfully employed to support their family and continue paying into retirement plans. They are downsized most frequently, discriminated against in hiring (companies typically will hire younger cheaper labor) and too young to collect social security which is not an optimal solution. What type of job stimulation is planned for this age group of unemployed workers.

Leecia Eve said:
New York State helps mature workers looking for employment in a couple of ways. The Senior Community Service Employment Program connects unemployed, low-income older adults with employment and training assistance. There are several offices across New York State – you can find locations at http://www.aging.ny.gov/Employment/CountyProgramList.cfm or by contacting the State Office of Aging at 1-800-342-9871. And the Department of Labor operates 88 One-Stop Career Centers, where experienced career advisors will provide one-on-one counseling and assistance to any New Yorker looking for work. Locations of the One-Stops can be by calling the NYS DOL at 1-888-4NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365) and are listed online at http://labor.ny.gov/workforcenypartners/osview.asp

Question from Cathy in Capital District:
I was a Town Clerk for 12 years in the area. At that time, there was quite a bit of correspondence about the "Mohawk Heritage Corridor". It seemed to be a push to revitalize the economy along the Hudson-Mohawk Rivers. My question is, is it still in existence and does the Governor's economic plans for jobs incorporate that idea along those two rivers. I'm sure some of the depressed areas along these two main shipping and boating areas would benefit from his plans for jobs, jobs, jobs.

Leecia Eve said:
The Heritage Corridor is not currently active. However, the Governor’s focus on strengthening that corridor remains strong and can be seen throughout his Regional Council initiative. The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s strategic plan encompasses the entire river basin, and waterfront projects played a significant role in our strategic planning for economic growth, and received several funding awards. Among the initiatives included in their plan is one that would try to address the Brownfields that exist in the former industrial, waterfront sites so they can be redeveloped into economic drivers. Nearly $2 million in projects along the waterway, including projects in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome and Utica were approved by the Regional Council and offered grants from the state to continue the revitalization along the Mohawk River.

Question from Fabian in Bronx:
Why can't I seem to land a job?! I believe I have a great resume and can't even get to an interview. The governor is not signing State job waivers either.

Leecia Eve said:
There is no doubt – finding a job now is hard, but Governor Cuomo is working even harder to create more and more jobs for New Yorkers. He has begun to tackle the employment crisis on multiple fronts: First, he launched ten Regional Economic Development Councils that are transforming the way New York invests in job creation and economic growth. Supported by up to $1 billion from nine state agencies, Regional Councils are designing community-based, performance driven plans to invest in and advance job creating projects in every region of the state. And the Governor just announced that we will launch a $200 million second competitive round of awards this year to keep the momentum going. Next, the Governor announced that New York would start to build on its economic strength as a destination location by building the largest convention center in the nation. Fueled by $4 billion in private investment, at no cost to the taxpayer, this project alone can help create tens of thousands of jobs. Lastly, the Governor is creating the NY Works Fund and Task Force to coordinate and accelerate the progress on key infrastructure projects to fast track and maximize the number of jobs we can create.

Question from Charlie in Clifton Park:
How can we find out what projects the NY Works Fund and Task Force will support?

Leecia Eve said:
The Governor’s NY Works Fund & Task force will bring together a group of leading, public and private sector experts to coordinate, leverage, and accelerate all of our capital programs to make sure all agencies work together to maximize the number of jobs we can create. Specific projects are going to be announced soon, but Governor Cuomo has already announced what the major goals are: 1) Improve or replace more than 100 bridges, like the Tappan Zee Bridge; 2) Repair 2,000 miles worth of roads; 3) Finance upgrades to 90 municipal water systems; 4) Improve 48 state parks and historic sites visited by over 37 million people each year; and 5) Repair 114 flood control projects and dams – especially important in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Question from James in Southern Tier:
How does making an energy highway help businesses in upstate and downstate NY?

Leecia Eve said:
New York needs reliable and affordable access to energy for our businesses and communities to grow and prosper. We have substantial supply in Western NY and the northern part of the State, and we have tremendous need in Downstate New York. Now, we just have to connect the dots so our businesses can get the access to inexpensive power they need. Under Governor Cuomo’s plan to build an Energy Highway, the State will create a master plan and issue an RFP to get private companies to bid and build over $2 billion in infrastructure to complete the system and to build the capacity to supply their customers. That means jobs for New Yorkers and low-cost power for businesses.

Question from John in Blue Point, Suffolk County:
What is the Governor doing to expand job opportunities for minority communities?

Leecia Eve said:
Historically, minority-run businesses have not been given equal access to the tools to compete. This year, Governor Cuomo started the long process to address this problem by extending credit that will give MWBE contractors the backing they need to compete. This program will support at least $200 million in contracting for MWBE firms over several years. And we will hit our target of doubling MWBE participation in state contracting to 20 percent. That means greater opportunities and more jobs for minority communities.

Question from Thelma in Coram, Suffolk County:
Are there plans to reduce taxes further this year? The MTA Payroll Tax cut and income tax reform was a good start – will there be further reform this year?

Leecia Eve said:
A government that works for the people must make a long-term commitment to fiscal discipline. Our State is more competitive when we are reducing taxes and that means holding the line this year, agreeing to close our remaining $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes and no new fees. Additionally, Governor Cuomo will create the Tax Reform and Fairness Commission to find ways to close tax loopholes, simplify the tax code, and improve New York’s business climate, especially for small businesses.

Question from Beth:
What is the Governor doing to help small businesses, create jobs?

Leecia Eve said:
Small business innovation is key to creating a more efficient and effective economy that works for all New Yorkers. That means increasing access to capital, lowering taxes, reducing costs, and eliminating regulatory barriers to encourage small business investment and hiring. As part of our small business improvement efforts, Governor Cuomo signed three critical pieces of legislation, as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which helped New York win $55.4 million in federal funding. With $10 in new private lending expected for every $1 in federal funding, New York stands to receive over half a billion in private investment to create thousands of jobs from these programs:

The Innovate NY Fund ($26 million): a new seed-stage equity fund to support innovation, job creation, and high growth entrepreneurship. The Capital Access Program ($19 million): a newly expanded program that will provide matching funds to loan loss reserve pools at financial institutions as an incentive to increase small business lending; the bill expands the range of New York-based financial institutions that can participate in the program. The Bonding Guarantee Assistance Program ($10 million): provides credit to help small and minority- and women-owned businesses secure bonding.

Question from Tom in Vestal:
I'm a New Yorker, and unemployed. What advice do you have for helping me find a job?

Leecia Eve said:
Finding a job is tough – there’s no question about that. But fortunately, the state is taking significant steps everyday to create jobs and make it easier for job seekers to find jobs. In addition to the new economic development initiatives Governor Cuomo announced to create tens of thousands of jobs by leveraging public-private partnerships, we launched a “Jobs Express” website at: http://www.labor.ny.gov/jobs/regional.shtm. This new tool helps identify job openings in specific economic markets and match job seekers with employers. So far, almost 43,000 job openings have been identified. The site also includes an electronic job-matching tool known as "Skills Matching and Referral Technology" (SMART), which generates job leads from resumes and can help job seekers from different age groups and experience levels identify job opportunities that are a match for their unique skills.

Question from Kristin in Johnson City:
What role do farmers play in our state's economic recovery? What plans does the Governor have to help farmers out in 2012?

Leecia Eve said:
The Governor has said on many occasions that agriculture is a major economic development engine in Upstate New York – and he is right! By continuing to work on and grow our markets – whether through direct marketing or expanding our food processing sector – farmers and agri-businesses will continue to be major players in the state’s economic recovery by providing jobs and creating revenue for upstate communities. Our 300+ New York State wineries and the growing demand and production of yogurt are two of the bright spots in this thriving industry.
The Governor laid out three initiatives in his State of the State address that will assist the ag industry. They include a linked deposit program that will help provide farmers with capital at affordable interest rates. He also will help expand market opportunities for farmers through his Fresh Connect farmers’ market program and by creating large-scale food hubs that will be strategically located across the state. Helping farmers market their products is a win-win, benefitting consumers and farmers like.
Question from Brian in Corning:
I am the owner of a vineyard in the Finger Lakes region. What is NYS doing to help wine producers?

Leecia Eve said:
Just last year, the Governor passed the Farm Winery Bill that enables this important sector of the state’s agriculture industry to prosper even more. The legislation reduces the regulatory burdens on farm wineries by allowing them to continue to thrive as a key tourism, agricultural, and economic engine for our state. Thanks to that legislation, we now have 316 licensed wineries and 54 satellite stores. 20 of those wineries were new last year, and they are spread across the State in 15 different counties, from Chautauqua to Suffolk, and even one in Brooklyn.

Question from Scott in Watervliet:
How does cutting taxes help the economy????

Leecia Eve said:
The tax reforms Governor Cuomo recently worked with the Legislature to pass will result in a tax cut for millions of middle class New Yorkers earning between $40,000 and $300,000, and a tax cut – according to Presidents from Reagan to Obama – will stimulate the economy. For decades, New York was burdened with an unfair tax code, where a person who made $20,000 paid the same as a person who made $20 million. By bringing tax fairness to New York –the more you make, the higher the rate you pay – we can stimulate the local economy by putting more money back into the hands of consumers and small businesses owners. Also, last year, for the first time ever, we passed a 2% property tax cap which will hold the line on skyrocketing property taxes and save billions for homeowners and businesses. That’s money that can now be reinvested by businesses into the purchase of new machinery, equipment, locations, and yes – new jobs.

Question from Anonymous:
How will having the largest convention center in American help our state's economy?

Leecia Eve said:
Building the largest convention center in the nation will help NY stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on one of our greatest strengths – New York’s standing as an international destination location where tourists spent $50 billion in 2010. We know that if we build it, they will come because New York is the place to be. The 3.8 million square foot convention center would accommodate the nation's largest events, drive demand for hotel rooms and restaurants, and bring in more tourism revenue. The project would be a $4 billion private investment that is estimated to generate tens of thousands of jobs and create new economic activity throughout the state without any risk to the taxpayer.

Question from Jeff in Troy:
What are we doing to keep jobs and companies here in our state?

Leecia Eve said:
Great question – and the answer lies in improving New York’s business climate and showing companies that NY is the place to be. By closing last year’s $10 billion budget gap without any new taxes or borrowing, passing an historic property tax cap, energy and jobs legislation, and promoting tax fairness, New York is showing greater competence that will result in greater economic competitiveness and more jobs for New Yorkers.

Question from Anonymous:
What is Governor Cuomo doing to make sure young people in our inner cities are part of the state's economic recovery?

Leecia Eve said:
The Governor recently signed into law legislation creating “NY Youth Works" which is a program that provides $25 million in tax credits and $62 million for job training to employ disadvantaged, unemployed youth. "NY Youth Works," will help combat high unemployment in the state's metro areas by providing critical funding and services for job training, placement, workforce development and education.

Question from Anonymous in Long Island:
I'm a small business owner. Where can I find state resources and support to expand and grow my business?

Leecia Eve said:
Empire State Development – our state’s chief administrative agency for business investment and growth - manages many programs focused on helping small businesses. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance small business growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. More information about how to access these tools for small businesses can be found at:www.esd.ny.gov

Leecia Eve said:
Thank you for participating in this live web chat today. It was great to hear your questions, and be able to speak directly to the public about the Governor's plans for creating jobs in 2012. From the convention center, to expansive infrastructure projects, to reforms that will cut down the cost of doing business in this state, the Governor’s agenda for 2012 includes the creation of tens of thousands of jobs. For more information on the 2012 State of the State message, visit: http://www.governor.ny.gov/stateofthestate2012 And for more information on finding a job, check out the Jobs Express web site: http://www.labor.ny.gov/jobs/regional.shtm