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Cuomo Gains Major Business Endorsement

Governor Cuomo tours Plug Power before receiving endorsement. Business Council President Heather Briccetti is at right.

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Governor Cuomo has been endorsed by the state’s largest Business lobby for his re election bid. The Business Council made the announcement today at the Plug Power energy manufacturing company near Albany.

Business Council President Heather Briccetti says her group is endorsing Cuomo over his GOP challenger Rob Astorino because of the governor’s record on achieving four on time budgets, enacting business tax cuts and holding the increase in state spending and property taxes to 2% year. She also praised Cuomo’s bi partisan governing style.

“Governor Cuomo has shown an ability to get very difficult issues through an often sharply divided state legislature,” Briccetti said.

Cuomo, who says the endorsement is a “big deal” to him,  said in a speech at an energy manufacturing plant that, if reelected , he’ll invest up to $1 billion dollars to provide greater access to broadband in New York.

“Broadband availability is going to be what the Interstate road system was in the ‘50’s,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo has also received the endorsement of the left leaning Working Families Party, and promised them he’d help Democrats take over the State Senate. Cuomo says he does not see a conflict between the two endorsements, , saying it’s a “ state with very diverse opinions”.

“You have business groups, you have groups that are against capitalism,” Cuomo said. “Part of the challenge of being governor of the state is that you represent everyone. It’s hard when you have the spectrum that we have.”

Cuomo says he is continuing to work to get Democratic Senators elected, and plans some campaign events soon.

Republican candidate Astorino  appeared at the annual meeting of the state’s Business Council in late September. In contrast to Cuomo, who said the economy is improving, the GOP challenger painted a darker portrait of New York, and chided business leaders for being too complacent.

“You have the clout to demand better, but you reward leaders who are, at best, managing the steady decline of New York,” Astorino.  “Whoever gets elected gets the business community’s support in New York, and rarely your criticism.”

Business Council President Briccetti says Astorino’s remarks had nothing to do with the group’s ultimate decision.

A spokeswoman for Astorino calls the endorsement "absurd".

"It's absurd for any business organization to endorse a governor who has presided over the highest taxes in the nation, the worst economic outlook, one of the most unfriendly business climates and the most people leaving a state," said spokeswoman Jessica Proud, in a statement. " If we are truly going to turn New York around, it's going to take bold reform, not more of Andrew Cuomo's broken promises. "

The endorsement comes as a Quinnipiac poll shows the race closing somewhat, but Astorino is still 20 points behind Cuomo, at 51 to 31 percent.