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Skorton is optimistic council's work will spur economic development

Cornell President David Skorton and state and local officials reported progress in the work of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, which met on campus Oct. 19. The council will review and recommend as many as 150 applications from public and private entities vying for $1 billion in grants and state tax abatements.

New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who leads the efforts of 10 regional New York state councils established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July, said public input and cooperation among elected officials, private companies, higher education and community organizations hold promise to remake state government and scale back an "erector set" of mandates.

Already, Duffy said, many steps have been taken to ease the regulatory burden on New York state businesses following complaints to the council and more than 9,000 public comments on the governor's website. Duffy also defended the governor's recent decision not to renew an income surtax on millionaires, saying it's another way the state drives business away.

At a press conference after the public portion of the meeting, Skorton, who co-chairs the council with Corning Enterprises CEO Tom Tranter, said, "Things are going fabulously ... many, many good ideas have been brought to the attention of the council in terms of specific opportunities to move the economy of the region ahead."

Grant applications are due to the council Oct. 31.

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Joe Schwartz