Ritchie applauds focus on job creation, Blankenbush disappointed in lack of unfunded mandate relief, Russell wants details
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 5:45 pm

Just hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address, Sen. Patty Ritchie applauded his focus on job creation, Assemblymen Ken Blankenbush was disappointed there was no call for unfunded mandate relief and Assemblywoman Addie Russell said she’s waiting for more details.

Sen. Patty Ritchie, who represents the western half of St. Lawrence County, applauded Cuomo’s call for building on the accomplishments of the past two years.

“In 2013, my focus is jobs, and I was thrilled to hear that Governor Cuomo is making that one of his priorities as well,” Ritchie said.

“We have made some great strides recently when it comes to getting our state’s economy back on track, but there’s a lot more we can do. I’m eager to get to work and continue to collaborate with the Governor and my fellow colleagues in an effort to put more New Yorkers back to work.”

In his address, the Governor also laid out plans to focus on Upstate Economic Development, with “Market NY,” a new multifaceted marketing plan to bolster Upstate growth.

“I’m excited to join with the Governor in promoting products that are unique to New York—specifically, Upstate New York,” Ritchie said. “Farming is the cornerstone of our state’s economy and anything we can do to help grow this industry and support our hardworking farmers will certainly benefit our state as a whole.”

Blankenbus, R-Black River, whose district includes southern St. Lawrence County include Gouverneur and DeKalb, was less enthusiastic about Cuomo's speech.

Blankenbush said he was eager help the Governor close the projected $1 billion budget gap on time, but noted that some key policies important to the North Country were missing from the governor's address.

“We must make a commitment to New York taxpayers and pass meaningful unfunded mandate relief, sweeping regulatory reform to unleash our economic potential and reduce the growth of state debt,” Blankenbush said.

He said New York remains one of the costliest states to live in. He said property taxes have been inflated by unfunded mandates. He said scaling back these mandates will lower property taxes for good.

Like Ritchie, Blankenbush, said he is eager to work with Gov. Cuomo to continue to strengthen family farms throughout the North Country and New York State.

“Agriculture is the largest industry in my region and it deserves our support,” said Blankenbush. “I am committed to protecting New York’s family farmers during the 2013 Legislative Session and budget negotiations.”

Russell, D-Theresa, who represents the 116th “River” District, said Cuomo’s “minimum wage proposal is part of his economic development discussion, and he focused on promoting assets such as tourism and promotion of New York-made products,” which she said are all important for the North Country.

“While this wasn’t the speech to go into a tremendous amount of detail, he made clear education is a priority, and when he releases the budget in a couple of weeks I believe we will see more of a focus on that,” she said.