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A Discussion With New York Governor Eliot Spitzer

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer came to office with reformation in mind. Spitzer is set on reforming business regulations, healthcare, education, transportation, and just about every other sector of New York's economy. Governor Spitzer said it best In his inaugural address: "Every policy, every action, and every decision we make in this administration will further two overarching objectives: We must transform our government so that it is as ethical and wise as all of New York; and we must rebuild our economy so that it is ready to compete on the global stage in the next century."

Apr/May 07
Spitzer brings his law experience to New York's high office, including an eight-year stint as Attorney General, which gave him a firsthand look at the challenges facing the state. Area Development highlights some of the top priorities in Spitzer's reformation.

On education reform. Our reform agenda for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade is built on a simple premise: in exchange for new money, school districts must show where that money is spent and whether it's getting results - with consequences for failure and rewards for success. My budget includes a new, transparent school-funding formula that dramatically increases investment over the next four years throughout the state, targeting the investment where we need it most. In exchange for this new funding, school districts must invest in programs that have been proven to work.

On business regulations. We must start with our workers' compensation system, a system that does not work for anyone - not the employers who pay some of the highest premiums in the country, and not the workers who receive some of the lowest benefits. I have already begun discussions with the legislature and representatives from both business and labor to arrive at a solution that will lower employer premiums, while increasing worker benefits for the first time since 1992. A solution must also make it easier for workers to get the medical treatment they want and need so they can get back to work.

On transportation infrastructure. We must finally break through the political gridlock to complete priority projects so we can move people and goods faster and cheaper. Upstate, we must follow through on the replacement of the Peace Bridge and the construction of I-86 along the Southern Tier. Downstate, we must construct the first segment of the Second Avenue subway and plan for the full extension to Lower Manhattan. We must also complete the planning process to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge and move forward on the East Side Access project to connect Long Island and Queens commuters to Grand Central Terminal.  And we must have the vision to expand Stewart Airport to become the fourth major airport in the Downstate region and to serve as an economic engine for the Hudson Valley. As we complete these priority projects, we must ensure they are accompanied by smart-growth planning, which will alleviate environmental degradation, instead of contributing to it, and will make our communities more vibrant places to live, work, and raise a family.On broadband technology. We must also recognize that access to affordable, high-speed broadband is just as important in today's economy as access to a paved road, to a telephone line, or to reliable electricity. But here in New York, we face a digital divide. If you're a child growing up in South Korea, your Internet is 10 times faster at half the price than if you're a child growing up in the Southern Tier or the South Bronx. New Yorkers on the wrong side of the divide simply cannot compete in today's economy. To close the divide, we must implement a Universal Broadband Initiative to ensure that every New Yorker has access to affordable, high-speed broadband.

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