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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Pushes Massive Convention Center Project

Javits Replaced, West Side Developed As Part Of Ambitious Plan For Future
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (credit: governor.ny.gov)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (credit: governor.ny.gov)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thinking big.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to roll the dice on casino gambling and he wants to close the Javits Convention Center and open another convention center in Queens, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

It’s all part of his economic agenda for 2012.

Cuomo gave his annual state of the state speech in Albany on Wednesday, calling for $25 billion in development projects and numerous actions to create jobs for New York’s failing economy.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Ambitious Agenda

The state of the state speech was the governor’s wish list, thing — some big and some small — that he’d like to see happen on his watch. And even though the state is broke, Cuomo is dreaming big.

“Let’s build the largest convention center in the nation, period,” Cuomo said to applause.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

That’s right. Cuomo wants to attract shows, conventions and tourism dollars by building a massive hotel and convention center at Aqueduct racetrack — and he’s willing to spend $4 billion to attract a private developer to do it – probably the same company that built the recently opened Aqueduct racino.

“It will be all about jobs, jobs, jobs … tens of thousands of jobs building the number one convention center in the country,” Cuomo said.

Once the convention center is built he wants to tear down the old Javits Center and build apartments and hotels to redevelop the West Side, something like Battery Park City.

But that’s just part of the governor’s plan to rebuild New York’s economy. Casino gambling is also part of his $25 billion economic development proposal.

“For us, this is not about chips and cards,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also wants to repair 2,000 miles of roads and to replace 100 bridges, and proposed changes to campaign financing, suggesting a cut in the maximum amount that can be donated to candidates, and proposing voluntary public financing of campaigns.

Of course Cuomo wasn’t the only one with an agenda. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sought to boost the lives of 1.2 million New Yorkers by raising that state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 an hour. He called it a top priority.

“Frankly, it’s absurd to expect anyone, let alone a working family, to afford the cost of living today and be able to invest in their future on a salary on 7.25 an hour. That’s just $15,000 a year,” Silver said.

“We’ve got to look at it. But it is as I said earlier clear, as I think the speaker, Speaker Silver said, it’s very difficult to live on $15,000 a year,” New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg added.

The governor also promised to close the state’s $2 billion budget gap without raising taxes or fees. We’ll have to see whether he’s able to keep that promise.

Cuomo’s approval ratings soared during his first year. His list of accomplishments may be a tough act to follow says Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

“He’s facing more difficult economic climate,” Greenberg told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

During Cuomo’s first year in office, the state legalized gay marriage, put a cap on the growth in property taxes and added a millionaire tax which also provided a middle class tax cut.

What do you think of Gov. Cuomo’s performance? Sound off in our comments section.

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