Video, Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 I Love New York Campaign to Promote the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in 2018This Year's Week of Comedy Runs Through Sunday, August 6
Governor Tours National Comedy Center - Expected to Open in 2018
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a $500,000 I LOVE NEW YORK campaign to continue to boost Western New York's tourism industry by promoting the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in 2018. The nationally-recognized festival draws nearly 13,000 visitors to the region and has more than 20 events taking place this week through Sunday, August 6. This year's festival features a number of comedy greats such as Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, Kevin James, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, W. Kamau Bell, Kelly Carlin and many others. The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, which is the first non-profit cultural institution and visitor experience dedicated to comedy, is expected to be completed in 2018. More information is available here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below.
Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Well it is my pleasure to be here, and I did bring the weather. And what a fantastic site. There's so much excitement here. And first of all the Mayor's exactly right. Jamestown has gone through tough days, we know that. But Jamestown is now looking like a different day. And the Mayor's right, it is about leadership. And you can feel the energy is different. You can feel the focus on economic development is different. You can feel businesses now coming back. Feel a positive energy. And it does take the Captain to lead the team, and Mayor Teresi has done a heck of a job, and let's give him a round of applause.
We have my colleagues from Albany here today. Your Senator Cathy Young, she is one tough fighter for her district, and I respect her. Let's give her a round of applause. And if she doesn't knock you down, Andy Goodell then follows up and he makes sure he delivers for his district. Assemblyman Andy Goodell.
We have Howard Zemsky, who is the economic guru for the State of New York. Let's give him a round of applause. And what a treat to be with Lewis Black, I am such a fan. I told him in the back, my father was such a fan. And he's been such a good friend to the State of New York. He's done videos for us. He's just fantastic. Lewis Black, thank you.
You know in state government, we work on a lot of issues, a lot of important issues, especially today. It seems like the world is changing every day, and it's getting more complicated every day. So plenty to keep us busy, but if we focus on one issue than anything else, it's about the economy. It's about jobs. Why, because if the economy is working, and you're creating jobs, then you can handle everything eels. Right? If people have hope, if people have future, if young people are staying, if businesses are coming back, then the engine is turning and you can handle everything else. So it's about economic development. It's about jobs. And we have a three part strategy that we've been working on the state side.
First was to change the New York attitude, change the New York culture, which frankly was anti-business for a lot of years. This state raised taxes year after year after year after year. And you do that, at one point people leave. Why? Because they're more mobile than ever before. Young people can pick up their laptop and leave. Businesses aren't cemented into the ground anymore by their foundation. They will leave. And we saw that exodus. You know? We had this New York arrogance, which is, well nobody will leave. They have nowhere else to go. That's the New York arrogance. If you look at a map, you'll see New York, and then you will see to the west of New York, other shapes. Squares, rectangles, oblong. Those are called other states. And if you push people hard enough, they can move to those other states. They have been found to be habitable. They're not New York, but they're habitable. So, first step was, reverse the policies in Albany. And we had to reduce state spending, because that's what drives taxes. Taxes go up because you spend a lot. We reduced state spending, we now have state spending down to less than a two percent increase year to year, which is the lowest increase in state spending in history, believe it or not.
So we get the state spending down, then we can lower taxes. We've lowered taxes all across the board. Every New Yorker's tax break is lower today than it was five years ago. So, we changed the entire attitude of the state toward business.
And second step was build our infrastructure. That infrastructure's such an ugly word, you know it doesn't resonate with anyone. But infrastructure is roads, bridges, airports. Right? Everybody's been saying, we have to rebuild our nation's infrastructure because we're falling behind the other countries around the world. Vice president Joe Biden to President Obama, went all around the country saying we have to build infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Joe Biden, God bless him, often said what he had on his mind, which in politics is not always that good. But he had that mind, Joe Biden, where he said if you were blindfolded, and put on an airplane, and you landed at LaGuardia Airport, and you took off the blindfold, you would think you're in a third world country. And all the New York politicians said, "Ohhe insulted New York." I said, "He told the truth." LaGuardia airport, you look at our airports, you lock at other airports around the world, there's no comparison. President Trump, the best thing he said from my point of view during the campaign was he was going to invest a trillion dollars in building infrastructure. Now, I don't know what ever happened to the trillion dollars or even a billion dollars, but he was right when he said that. The difference with this state is we're not talking about it, were doing it. We're investing 100 billion dollars in infrastructure, the largest development of any state in the United States of America. And we're doing it from one end of this state to the other. Long Island and the Long Island Railroad, we're transforming the Long Island Railroad, new JFK airport, new LaGuardia airport, more roads and bridges we've built than ever before. New airport in Rochester, new airport in Syracuse, new airport in Elmira Corning, so all across the state we're rebuilding the infrastructure.
And then the third piece of our strategy, which hadn't been done before, was understanding that there really is no one template for the state's economy. Which hadn't been done before, was understanding that there really is no one template for the state's economy. This is one state, but it's a very diverse state and it's very different. And what works in the North Country, is different than what works on Long Island, is different than what works in the Southern Tier. If you really want to get the economy going, then region by region you have to sit the business people down and the academic people down and the elected leaders in that region and say, you come up with a plan for your region that works and we will then invest in your plan. Right? That's what the Buffalo Billion was. It's a 180 mindset for state government. Because state government sat there in Albany and said, "Well we know what you should happen in Jamestown. Jamestown, this is what you should do to be a success." You have no idea what Jamestown should do. Let them figure it out and then give them the resources to actual make a difference. And that's the theory of the Buffalo Billion. And one of the main pieces is developing an attraction that draws people to that region, to that area.
Now, we were just in Watkins Glen, Howard Zemsky and I. Watkins Glen has a big race course. And, I've gone to Watkins Glen quite a few times. First of all, because I like cars. And when you're the Governor, they let you drive around the track. Get a big kick out of it. And I was there today. They gave me one of the cars to drive. And we were following the pace car around the track and before I get in the car, Howard was there. And without thinking I said, why don't you get in and come for a ride. Howard gets in. Now, Howard - and you have to understand is a - and I don't mean to insult you in any way. But he's a very careful, meticulous kind of personality, you know? When we get on the plane. He does the lap belt and this belt and he's adjusting them all the time. You hit any bump in the plane, he goes into the tuck position like you're going down. He's that kind of guy. Very meticulous. He carries with him a bag, a special bag, in case you need anything - like anything - over the course of the day. He has handkerchiefs, you know, he has cue tips in there with cotton swaps. He's got that big bottle of hand sanitizer. You know that personality? I touch the door knob, get me the hand sanitizer? So that's the kind of guy he is. He's very careful, Howard. And extra socks. I asked him, "Why do you need extra socks? What happens over the course of the day that you need extra socks?" So we get in the car and now he starts to get nervous right away, Howard, and he asks, "What's the speed limit here?" I said, "Howard, there is not speed limit." He says, "Well there must be. We're in the state of New York, it must be 65 miles an hour." I said, "No Howard, 65 does not apply -" He said, "Oh, I'm sure it does. I'm sure it does." He takes out his blackberry and he's now going to blackberry his counsel to find out if the speed limit is 65 miles an hour on the speed track. It was not 65 miles an hour.
To make a long story short, Howard had a scream during that ride that was indescribable and the faster we went the higher is scream went. And at one point, the pitch just stopped and his mouth was still open and dogs came out of everywhere and started chasing the car. Can you hear it? A decimal level not known to man. But besides embarrassing Mr. Zemsky at Watkins Glen - Watkins Glen is a fantastic attraction for that entire region. Watkins Glen gets hundreds of thousands of people. And economically stimulates that entire region. That's one of the things that makes the race track important. And having that attraction can really drive a region. It takes vision, it takes dedication, it takes commitment, and it takes investment.
What you are doing here at the National Comedy Center, is exactly what that racetrack does for the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes. I believe this is going to be a national attraction. You are already hitting it out of the park. You already have the formula that is working. You're bringing people from all over. You're tradition to now build on that and literally have a national comedy center that becomes known around the country as the home of comedy. You can develop that and develop that and use that to attract people from all across the country.
That is your vision and it is bright. Your dedication, your energy, is giving us this building. The leadership of your elected officials is pulling it all together. It is smart, it is right, it is going to work. You can feel it coming together. You can feel it building on the energy that Jamestown is developing already. I believe in it, I want to invest in it on behalf of the people of the state of New York. That's why we're going to put in 14 million dollars into this complex, and that's why next year, we are signing up the first sponsor a five hundred thousand dollar commitment to promote the National Comedy Center through the I Love New York campaign to kick it off as a national tour. Thank you. Congratulations.