Molinaro Comes Out Swinging Against Albany
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro presented his 2017 State of the County address Wednesday in a 38-minute speech that included more than a few jabs at state government and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Molinaro, a former mayor, county legislator, NYS Assemblyman, and current Dutchess County Executive, told the audience gathered at the Culinary Institute that Albany is not business or consumer friendly but, through local partnerships, Dutchess County is doing its part to reverse that. He credited the Th!nk Dutchess Alliance for $3.2 billion in major investments for projects under development in fields such as healthcare, housing, and high-tech manufacturing.
Molinaro, rumored to be a potential challenger of Cuomo's in 2018, presented his vision to make what he calls the "Dutchess County family" healthier, safer, and stronger through expanded intervention programs, a new justice and transition center, and developing a universally accessible park for use by people of all abilities.
Education was a topic that where Molinaro presented an improvement consisting of a larger financial commitment to Dutchess Community College for 2018. The county executive is proposing an additional $1 million for 2018.
This was an area that he criticized Albany by saying, "if New York has the resources to provide new tuition assistance, it should first make good on its funding obligation to community colleges; that’s nearly $7 million to DCC, equal to the tuition of nearly 2,000 students. And, contrary to state law, Albany mandates that County taxpayers cover the cost for Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology, costing Dutchess County taxpayers $1 million annually. This, too, should end!"
Dutchess County has a "Shared Services" program which encourages the towns, cities, and villages to work together to save money. The program existed locally for a few years before Governor Cuomo recently proposed that it be required of local governments.
Molinaro also took exception to the governor's proposal by saying, "Making government more efficient and effective results in better services, less spending and greater benefit to taxpayers. Having spent every day of my adult life making government work for the people it serves, I know that we don’t need the State of New York or our Governor imposing on us, lecturing us, and mandating we spend your hard-earned dollars on massive state programs we have limited ability to change. As noted by the New York State Association of Counties, 'We are willing to be the State’s partner, but we will not be their scapegoat.'”
The full text of the 2017 State of the County address can be found at Dutchess County's website.