Albany Hosts President Clinton for Economic Pep Talk

| September 27, 2011 9:53 AM video

In the season finale of HBO’s “Entourage,” the impetuous Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) hires retired Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka to rally employee morale at his Hollywood talent agency.

Perhaps that same kind of motivational speech is what Gov. Cuomo had in mind when he invited President Bill Clinton to address the first statewide conference of Regional Economic Development Councils in Albany on Sept. 27.

“Having the president come is a big treat for me,” said Gov. Cuomo, who served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during Clinton’s second term from 1997 to 2001.

President Clinton will not be compensated for his appearance, as originally reported in the Capital District Business Review. It’s a big pay cut from the $200,000 he received for an appearance at a University of Albany event in March, according to the Knicker Ledger.

The statewide conference is the next phase of a sweeping economic stimulus plan set in motion by Gov. Cuomo earlier this year.

The governor divided the state into ten regional councils which will compete for up to $1 billion in economic development funds and tax credits. Under the rules of the competition for the initial disbursement, four of the State’s ten regions will each win $40 million in aid while the remaining six regions will have to share a single $40 million dollar sum.

Business leaders, higher education experts and state government personnel sit on each regional council. Elected officials are only allowed to act as advisers to the councils, according the regional council website.

The councils have been meeting since early August, collecting input from the public on local college campuses. Each council must present a strategic plan to the Governor’s office by Nov. 14. A review committee under supervision of the governor will pick the top four plans by December.

On Sept. 26 Cuomo warned regional councils not to draft any plans that smack of provincialism. If a council’s plan evidences an “us versus them” mentality, it will lose.

“Either you have gotten past the factions and past the geographic subdivisions, or you are not going to win,” Gov. Cuomo said on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Pressroom radio show.

WATCH VIDEO:

President Clinton will address the first meeting of statewide Regional Economic Development Councils in Albany this week. The Capitol Report’s Susan Arbetter reports.

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