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Hochuls' budget proposal should aid economic revitalization in CNY

Don Pollard

The nearly two-year-old pandemic has caused well known economic challenges in Central New York, but an expert at Centerstate CEO said Governor Hochul's state budget proposal is a step in the right direction. VP of Public Policy Kevin Schwab said Kathy Hochul's plan for economic recovery is a solid way to take care of long and short term needs.

“Overall, we see this as a solid budget that really helps get New York through the pandemic and we’re hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel on the pandemic, and in this budget, it really focuses on things that will help economically and practically as communities try to recover,” Schwab said.

Key areas in the budget include tax relief for small businesses and middle-income New Yorkers and funding for workforce development, downtown revitalization, and childcare. Schwab said large portions of women have not returned to the workforce due to a lack of childcare, and they need to be able to return.

“If there are not afterschool programs, if there are not childcare slots available, it affects women’s ability to go back to jobs, to take job openings, it certainly impacts their earning potential.”

He said providing more childcare will allow an increase of women to fill open positions and have a strong impact on Central New York’s business recovery. Throughout the budget, money is designated to help areas that have been significantly hit during the pandemic. Schwab said the money will fund high value developmental projects and result in job creation.

“There’s also money in there for downtown redevelopment initiative, about $450 million dollars and that’s vital.  That’s really important because downtowns and main-streets and villages have been disproportionately hit,” Schwab said.

As to the Governor’s five-year outlook in the state budget, he says it allows the State to address the most important priorities. He predicts Hochul’s budget will have positive impacts for many years to come.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.