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Cuomo announces Competition for $1.5 Billion Upstate Revitalization Fund

cuomoGov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition, in which seven regions in Upstate New York will compete for a total of three, $500 million grants from the fund, he stated.

Cuomo said the purpose of the fund will be “to continue to restore economic opportunity to regions across Upstate New York.”

And, although the plan still needs approval from the New York state legislature, he said the $5 billion surplus from the state’s recent settlements with financial institutions will finance the fund.

The regions eligible to compete for the funds include Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.

“I am encouraged by the opportunity from Gov. Cuomo to seek funding for transformational projects that will promote job growth and attract new economic activity,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “I look forward to working with Mayor Lovely Warren and all of our community leaders to put forth a winning plan that unites behind our shared vision of a vibrant local economy based on growth and innovation.”

According to the governor’s office, Cuomo said the planned program has been designed to replicate the “Buffalo Billion” initiative he started during his first term in office.

The program included a $1 billion economic development fund, which he awarded to the city in an effort to revitalize the area.

Officials said the money has resulted in:

• $11.3 billion in regional private investment;
• 3,772 jobs and 812 new firms moving into the area;
• Four percent increase in total regional wages.

“The 2015 Opportunity Agenda continues to demonstrate Gov. Cuomo’s commitment to changing the economic landscape of Upstate New York,” said Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D- Irondequoit. “The Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition presents the Finger Lakes region and all of upstate with the opportunity to secure critical funding that will provide a significant boost to our efforts to increase job growth and strengthen our economy.”

According to officials, the competition has been scheduled to begin April 15, with submissions due by July 1.

Subsequently, winners will be announced in the fall.

In addition, Cuomo said he will use the following five-member committee to make the selections:

• Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution
• Marc Morial, President, National Urban League
• Cesar Perales, New York Secretary of State
• Susan Christopherson, Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
• RoAnn Destito, Commissioner, Office of General Services

Gov. Cuomo also unveiled a $1.7 billion property tax credit program earlier this week, proposing tax breaks for middle-income homeowners and renters.

Officials said he has released the information regarding his initiatives as a preview to his State of the State address, which is scheduled for Jan. 21.