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January 10, 2014

Cuomo didn't give us warm, fuzzy feeling

The Daily Star

---- — Forgive us, but we’re feeling a bit left out in the cold, and it has nothing at all to do with the polar vortex.

It has everything to do with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday. While references were made to the woes of upstate New York, Cuomo’s speech had little in the way of solutions to the state’s moribund economy and underperforming schools.

Also, the little item of fracking was not mentioned even once in the 69-minute oration.

While Cuomo talked about several projects bringing jobs to such upstate locations as Buffalo, Utica, the Finger Lakes region and Saranac Lake, he made no mention of any specific programs for Otsego, Schoharie, Delaware or Chenango counties.

While we share the dismay of other New Yorkers who pay more for gasoline than citizens of other states, whose electricity taxes rival any in the nation, and whose property taxes discourage economic growth, we suspect that helping our part of the state isn’t foremost on the governor’s to-do list.

Cuomo said the reason for New York’s highest-in-the-U.S. property taxes is “we have too many local governments, and we’ve had them for too long.” But he didn’t offer any ideas about how to persuade local residents to consolidate their towns and villages.

The governor’s best idea was to cut the corporate tax rate for upstate manufacturers to zero percent and the statewide corporate tax rate from 7.1 percent to what it was in 1968 — 6.5 percent. We’d like to see that happen, but even if it does, chances of major manufacturing enterprises in Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties would still be remote.

Perhaps a more-attainable goal is Cuomo’s intention to organize a “summit” aimed at helping upstate farmers get their produce to New York City customers. But farmers in Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties are already collaborating in trucking their products to the city.

Cuomo demanded a requirement for all-day pre-kindergarten, but he didn’t happen to mention how he would pay for it. He didn’t address the Common Core standards mess in our schools. He did, however, decry a lack of technology.

“There are some schools where the most sophisticated piece of electronics equipment is the metal detector that you walk through on the way to the classroom,” he said. “That is just wrong in the state of New York.”

But to right the wrong, it would take state voters approving a $2 billion bond act in November, when, not coincidentally, the governor’s name will be on the ballot for re-election.

If Cuomo expects to garner many votes around here, we’re going to have to see more emphasis on solving the problems prevalent in our four counties.