Republican Lee Zeldin has blamed Democrats, and Gov. Kathy Hochul in particular, for an economic malaise in the state that has led to population losses.
“We want all New Yorkers to be able to stay, live here, thrive and not have to go,” Zeldin said in his victory speech after winning the Republican primary in June. “Right now, look at other states where you feel your money will go further.”
Zeldin is trying to convince voters he can solve the problem, in part by cutting government spending and regulations.
what you need to know
- Republican Lee Zeldin has made the economy a top campaign issue, arguing that Democratic politics are driving New York’s population loss
- Zeldin wants to reverse the state’s longstanding ban on fracking and allow more gas pipelines, which he says would create jobs and reduce energy costs
- Gov. Kathy Hochul has been promoting the recently announced deal to bring a massive microchip manufacturing campus to the Syracuse area
- Hochul also provided $600 million in state funding for a new Bills Stadium and $350 million for investments on Long Island
For job creation, he recently addressed the creation of small business incubators – the first in Harlem – and advocated for vocational training programs.
He said he could improve the state’s business climate.
“One of the most important things we need to do is cut taxes across the board,” he said in a remark to the state business council last month. “This includes the abolition of the estate tax in New York. Personally, I’m someone who would be in favor of not even having an income tax in New York.”
Zeldin also wants to reverse the long-standing government ban on fracking to extract natural gas.
He also supports the approval of further gas pipelines.
Zeldin said the moves would create jobs and reduce energy costs, but they also put him at odds with environmentalists.
Meanwhile, Hochul has touted her record of job creation.
It has pumped federal money into renewable energy projects that create so-called green jobs and into big development initiatives like the deal to bring a massive microchip manufacturing campus to the Syracuse area.
Hochul also provided $600 million in state funding for a new Buffalo Bills stadium and committed $350 million to Long Island investments — all part of their efforts to boost the state’s economy.
“I want to get rid of New York’s reputation as a high-tax state,” she told the Business Council. And indeed, in our budget, we cut taxes on the middle class by $1.2 billion. We had a property tax reduction. We have also suspended the gas tax.”
Zeldin had also campaigned against the gas tax – one of the few areas where the two seem to agree.