Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo touched on the Buffalo Billion plan, a second Niagara Falls casino and the state’s new gun regulations this morning during his visit to Buffalo.
Not many clear answers on those hot topics came after Cuomo delivered his budget speech to a packed City Honors School auditorium.
But the governor told reporters his $1 billion pledge for economic development in Buffalo hasn’t necessarily been pushed from a five-year plan to a 10-year plan as was recently reported.
“We are open to whatever plan Buffalo comes up with,” Cuomo said. “If they want to do it over 10 years, we’ll do it in 10 years. If they want five years, we’ll do it in five years.”
The state will defer to Buffalo’s requests for the money “within reason,” Cuomo said.
“If they want it all in six months, that’s going to be a problem,” he said.
Cuomo did not say much about the idea of a new, non-Indian casino in Niagara Falls, an idea floated by his aides earlier in the month.
But he said all possibilities on upstate casinos are still in play.
“Everything is still on the table,” he said. “It is developing but nothing is off the table.”
On the controversial gun legislation, Cuomo said fears that the law will take away the guns of New Yorkers are misguided.
“It’s a fear of what the law might lead to,” the governor said. “That fear is wholly unfounded because it doesn’t do what people fear it might do.”
Mental health specialists have raised concerns in recent weeks that the law would force them to be agents of the state by compelling them to report gun activity in their patients to the government.
Cuomo said those specialists would be allowed to report whether their patients were in danger of hurting someone with a gun, but he said they would not be forced to.
“They would have the right to act,” he said. “If they don’t want to act, then they don’t. It’s the discretion of mental health professionals.”
Cuomo also hit on the main points of his recently unveiled budget plan, saying that job creation and education reform are keys to New York’s future.
He said the state would reimburse local school districts 100 percent of the cost of expanding school days or years.
He said the state plans to launch a specific marketing campaign aimed at showcasing the assets of Upstate New York and will re-establish itself as the progressive capital of the nation by passing an equal rights amendment for women.
“There is nothing we can’t do in this state,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to build a state better than ever before.”