ESDC CEO visits Queens
by Lisa A. Fraser
Jan 18, 2012 | 502 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ESDC CEO Kenneth Adams
ESDC CEO Kenneth Adams
Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) President Kenneth Adams paid Queens a visit last Thursday, January 12, to give business leaders a brief review of the main economic development initiatives outlined in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

Adams spoke at the Queens Economic Development Leadership Council meeting at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

He highlighted the accomplishments of last year, particularly the tax reform package enacted by the governor and legislature in early December. Under old tax code, the flat tax applied to everyone at the same rate regardless of salary. Now higher income earners pay at a higher rate, however, in the governor’s reform package, everyone’s tax rate went down.

Adams also touted the governor’s plan to create a long-term plan for tax policy through a bipartisan special tax commission, since the reform that was just passed has a sunset of four years.

The CEO also spoke with leaders about issues in Queens, while taking into consideration some of their suggestions.

Adams reiterated the governor’s plan for tourism, which includes building a $4 billion convention center at the Aqueduct racetrack.

New York City's current convention center, the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan, is the 12th largest in the country.

“That is not a competitive facility,” Adams said, noting that ESDC has worked to renovate the space in the past. “It is not moving into the future.”

Stressing Genting’s role in creating the proposed convention center, from providing the money to the hotel rooms, Adams pushed Cuomo’s plan.

“This is not taxpayer dollars,” he said. “This is done through private industry.”

Eventually, when the convention center gets built, Adams said it will free up the site of the Javitz Center for development. “That’s important too because if the site is developed it will generate $2 billion in private sector investment,” he said.

But some in the room raised concerns about the proposed convention center.

“We’re excited here in Queens about the convention center, but there is a lot of concern at the airport and other places about the infrastructure,” said Philippa Karteron, executive director at the Council for Airport Opportunity. “We hope the infrastructure will be analyzed and evolve at the same time as the convention center.”

Community Board 10 chair Betty Braton echoed her concern.

“Infrastructure capacity is a major concern,” she said. “You have to bear in mind that where Aqueduct is situated there is a community of one and two-family homes. [The community] wants to be able to support this but they want full understanding that they are going to be protected.”

Noting the already-congested Van Wyck Expressway, Karteron said that it is critical that there is plan that is made public early on to develop the public support that is going to be necessary.

Braton said that accurate information is needed from the state and that that kind of information is going to be key in making people understand the value of the project.

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