Barbara Fiala Returns to Binghamton on Governor's Behalf

By Matt Porter

Barbara Fiala, commissioner of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, delivered the Governor's State of the State message personally to Broome County lawmakers.

January 10, 2013 Updated Jan 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Former Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala returns to Southern Tier to deliver governor's message from State of the State personally.

Although there's been a lot of talk on the controversial elements of Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo's progressive plan from gun control to longer school days, local lawmakers are much more excited about the governor's promise to develop upstate jobs and businesses.

Former Broome County Executive and now commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles Barbara Fiala visited Binghamton personally to deliver Cuomo's message.

Cuomo said Upstate's five percent growth rate is far too small compared to the rest of New York.

He's proposed "tax-free" innovation hot spots to encourage new businesses to set up shop in regions like the Southern Tier.

He'd also like to open three casinos upstate to encourage more people to visit the area.

Local leaders couldn't agree more about the need for more development in the region.

"I'm happy to hear about the concentration and an emphasis on helping upstate because it's true," said Broome County Legislator Democrat Daniel D. Reynolds, "When you go to many of the cities including Binghamton, they just have not recovered."

"In order to get jobs," said Johnson City Mayor Republican Greg Deemie. "We need the jobs to build the economy, and that will help everyone around here."

The governor stressed the need for universities like Binghamton University to help retrain New Yorkers for the jobs that are out there.

Fiala said in her presentation that there are 100,000 unfilled jobs in New York because companies can't find people with the right skills.

County leaders were also pleased to see the governor talk about increasing minimum wage by $1.50 an hour. They said that will help people in the county keep themselves out of poverty.

Two issues were not presented in Cuomo's plan: hydraulic fracturing and mandate relief.

Fiala said the governor is working on the fracking issue despite leaving it out from his 90 minute presentation Wednesday.

"There is a game plan in place," said Fiala, "It's being studied and people are asking for it to be studied fully. And that's what New York State is doing right now."

As for providing counties financial relief from state mandates, legislators like Reynolds said it's an issue that needs to be addressed going forward.

"It was a good speech, but we do need mandate relief because of the tax cap," said Reynolds, “We have built-in mandated costs that affect all municipal governments including our government."