ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state is squandering economic development funding and failing to address income inequality, Cynthia Nixon said Tuesday as her campaign released her proposals to invest in green jobs, bridge and water system repairs and minority communities.
The former "Sex and the City" star and Democratic candidate for New York governor also wants greater transparency and accountability in state economic development spending. The candidate's plan was first reported Tuesday by The Associated Press ahead of a formal announcement in Buffalo. Nixon said it's an attempt to improve a state economic development system that for too long has benefited wealthy developers and executives at the expense of the taxpayers.
Among the specific proposals: free tuition for part-time students and workforce training programs, a $7 billion investment in renewable energy jobs funded through a fee on companies responsible for carbon emissions and a "database of deals" — a long-discussed proposal to post all state economic spending online for public review.
She's also proposing more spending to repair subways, sewers and bridges and to legalize marijuana and to give minority-owned businesses priority when it comes to marijuana licensing.
"New Yorkers need a governor who knows it's her job to place public good for all ahead of private gain for the few," Nixon said. "In the 20th century, New York placed a bet on its workers and invested billions of dollars to unleash the strongest middle class the world has ever known. Now it's time to make that same investment for a workforce that is more diverse and more feminine than any in our history."
Nixon faces two-term incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in next month's primary. Cuomo has touted billions of dollars in investments in the upstate economy, but critics complained about the number of jobs created and note that two former top state officials have been convicted, along with several real estate developers, on corruption charges stemming from their involvement in Cuomo's economic development initiatives.
Cuomo's campaign dismissed Nixon's proposals, noting the governor's efforts to increase the number of minority and women-owned businesses, set aside billions of dollars for infrastructure and push to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.
"Managing the third largest economy in the U.S. is not a made-for-TV movie," said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. "It takes experience and proven leadership, and New Yorkers won't be fooled by this movie of the week."