"We accomplished much last year, and I'm optimistic that the Legislature can continue to work with Governor Cuomo to achieve more in 2012, specifically in the areas of economic development and energy.
"Bringing $1 billion to Western New York will be a top priority. The scope of this undertaking is not yet firmly established, but I stand ready to work with the governor on the details. This historic infusion of dollars, when combined with another round of funding through the Regional Council program, could launch a new era of development in our local economy.
"I have long held that economic development is closely linked to our energy, and I was pleased to hear the governor talk about improving the energy grid through substantial new investments in our existing energy infrastructure. This kind of in-state focus will help us meet our energy needs across the state, as well as create jobs and grow industries. In addition, the time to expand solar energy production is now, and the governor's NY-Sun Initiative sounds very promising.
"Agreements in these areas and others will likely succeed in relation to the state budget, and we have to take big strides forward to close a $3 billion budget deficit. We closed a much larger deficit last year, and there's no reason why we can't continue to make the tough decisions necessary to improve the state's fiscal health. Now we have a great opportunity to rein in spending and make smart decisions about how we allocate taxpayers dollars."