ROCHESTER, N.Y. - On Tuesday, Governor Eliot Spitzer visited Rochester's Rotary Club with strong messages about his future plans for upstate New York and what he has been able to accomplish so far, 100 days into his term.
He noted that he was able to pass the budget on time, stating that "We're beginning to make real progress." He also discussed $1.3 billion in property tax cuts across the state and the $1.8 billion he has provided in aid for charter schools.
The core of his address, however, dealt with the economy of upstate and he made it clear that he understood that upstate is failing to keep people to stay. According to the Census Bureau the five-county Rochester area had a net population decline of 2,400 people from 2000 to 2006.
To address these problems he noted that Onex Corp of Toronto will be adding 500 jobs to the Rochester area once it buys Eastman Kodak's health imaging unit. In addition, he mentioned Rochester's strengths, particularly the contribution of University of Rochester's Medical Center to upstate research and the economy. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, a Republican, credited the governor with the changes he has made thus far and says she understands that he, "tackled issues that have not been tackled before."