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Syracuse business leaders say Cuomo's tax plan gives them 'bit of optimism'

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Syracuse business leaders say Cuomo's tax plan gives them 'bit of optimism'
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his sermon Monday on the need for government frugality to a group hardly in need of conversion -- business leaders.

The governor said New York state has turned a corner, delivering what he refers to as a "grand slam" -- four on-time state budgets in a row.

"And what you're asking in the budget is, who should we tax in this state? How much should we tax them? And how do we spend the money? So, it really becomes the essential finger print for the state, going forward," Cuomo said.

Cuomo's focus for the day, though, was on the portion of the budget formula dealing with taxes.

"You have to get down taxes in this state if you're going to be competitive," Cuomo said.

Business leaders are crediting Cuomo with reversing long-term trends toward higher and higher state taxes.

"What he has to say resonates from the standpoint of progress and a bit of optimism about how things can be as opposed to the economic situation that businesses faced in our state, historically," said Mac MacMurray, of C&S Engineers.

"He's doing a good job of balancing his message with taxes and cutting costs. I think what we really have to do as a community is look at cutting costs," said Rob Lo Curto, of Central New York Regional Transportation Authority.

The governor's supporters saying his program has begun to deliver results.

"If you look at all of those job numbers. Job numbers are up. Unemployment numbers are down significantly and that's going to continue," said state Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida.

"We haven't really had a strong national economic uptick, but when that national wind blows, we are ready to set sail," Cuomo said.

Cuomo's fiscal policies may have scored well with business, but have drawn some fire from more progressive quarters. Headed into a re-election campaign, there is pressure for Cuomo to begin to respond to those on the left.

But business leaders are hoping he stays on his current path.

"We are still a long way from where we need to be. There's still a lot of work to do in New York. But, I feel like we're moving in the right direction," said Rob Simpson, CenterState CEO and president.

The governor, for his part, says his drive toward lower taxes will continue.

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