Rockland County Executive candidate Ed Day unveiled a
10-point economic plan aimed at improving the county’s finances and business
climate on Thursday. Day, a county
legislator, proposed a mix of tax credits, gas tax cap, addition of an economic
development expert and establishment of stronger partnerships with local
business organizations and educational institutions.
“I believe that this plan will revitalize our economy, create smart and sustainable growth, and provide the foundation on which the finances of our county, towns, and villages can be built,” he said.
Day was joined by Al Samuels and Hector May of the Rockland Business Association, Steve Weissblatt of the New City Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Reich, Business Manager for Laborers Local 754, Clarkstown Republican Committee Chairman Bob Axelrod and other members of the business community. Day introduced his plan at a shuttered gas station on Little Tor Road in New City using it as an example of why the county should reinstate its gas tax cap.
Without a cap, Day said every increase in gas prices means residents also pay more in county taxes leading many to buy their gas in New Jersey at lower prices.
Day proposed hiring an economic growth director with responsibilities to coordinate growth efforts of the county, state and private business and economic development organizations and oversee grant applications. He said the position would replace an existing one in the county executive’s office and would be dedicated to attracting business and commerce to Rockland.
May said he supported Day’s plan because he realizes there is a difference between a business leader and a political leader and that the county executive must be the chief economic officer.
Day said he wants to refocus the priorities of the county executive’s office to coordinate economic opportunities and strengthen its relationship with the Rockland Economic Development Corporation and the Rockland Industrial Development Agency. He recommended a tuition rebate program for BOCES and Rockland Community College students who earn technical degrees or certificates in specific fields and stay to work in the county.
After the announcement, Reich, whose union has endorsed Democratic county candidate Dagan Lacorte, explained why he attended. He said Day put together a good plan and the union is concerned with what is good for the county not political parties.
“We really think that points of the plan are points all candidates should really look at,” he said.
Day said he would like to businesses headquartered or located completely within Rockland get bid preference for county contracts and services. He said there are precedents for that type of program in other parts of New York.
Overall, Day said his proposals would fundamentally work to change how businesses and residents view the county.