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tv   National Governors Association Winter Meeting Discussion on Economic...  CSPAN  February 21, 2020 2:38pm-3:08pm EST

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senators bernie sander, elizabeth warren, and amy klobuchar, pete buttigieg and tom steyer and your calls about campaign 2020, live coverage on c-span, on demand at or listen live on the free c-span radio app. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. created by cable in 1979. and brought to you today by your television provider. next, a discussion about what's working to improve infrastructure, and economic prosperity in u.s. states. with the chair of the national governor's association, larry hogan, of maryland. vice chair andrew cuomo of new york. and utah's gary herbert. i want to thank you all for sticking with us this afternoon for our next panel, our next topic, which is about making progress happen.
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all of us are working very hard every day in our states to spur economic growth, and to build lasting career pathways that put more people to work in good-paying jobs. it's more important than ever that we work together to find new ways to build a steady pipeline for the future, using economic development models, infrastructure projects, and talented well-trained and well-skilled workers. the governors obviously play a key role in these efforts. many of the governors here today have shown tremendous leadership in this area, and it's at the state level that bold ideas are being developed, and relate solutions are being forged. so to lead today's next panel, it is my privilege to introduce the vice chair of the nga, the governor of the great state of new york, andrew cuomo, who will tell us a little bit about the
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progress he's making in new york, and then lead the next panel discussion. please welcome governor cuomo. [ applause ] >> thank you. good afternoon. before i get started, let's give a great round of applause to our great chairman of the nga, governor hogan. [ applause ] >> governor hogan, we all thank you for your professionalism, your collegiality, your cooperation, and your leadership. another round of applause for governor hogan, please. [ applause ] >> it's my pleasure to be here today, to open the second plenary session, and let me tie the discussion of this session into the last one on global and domestic infrastructure. to begin with, if we had a magic wand, we should wave it and eliminate the word infrastructure from the vocabulary. it is just not an attractive
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word. let's be honest. maybe if we come up with a more attractive word we could actually entice the federal government to re-enter the field. it sounds like a task for a new nga subcommittee. but the simple truth is that we do need the federal government to be a full partner, if we're going to resolve this crisis. and it is a crisis. states simply don't have the financial luxury of filling the void, no matter how aggressive, no matter how creative states are. this is not a partisan complaint. because the past five presidents, democrats and republicans, all proclaimed infrastructure development as a national priority, and very little progress has been made. our national infrastructure funding deficit is estimated to be $1.5 trillion by 2025. european countries on average spend about 5% of their gdp on infrastructure. our federal government spends less than half that.
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1977, washington paid 38% of the cost of building our nation's infrastructure. today, that share is down to 25%. and the ever-increasing balance falls to state and local governments. in the meantime, states do what we can, and states do what we must. we node that what we build, what we modernize, is the legacy that we leave behind. given a state's limited resources, a state development strategy must be targeted and have a direct connection to a return on the state's investment. they must be catalytic to an economic development plan. either the project itself must be essentially self-financing, or the project must be an integral part of the targeted economic development strategy that will pay dividends. in new york, we analyze our development projects in two
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tiers. first, necessary and essential modernization of our transportation systems, and second, regional economic development investments. first, global competition demands a modern transportation network, period. either grow or be left behind. in 2014, then vice president joe biden said, basic quote, if you landed in new york at laguardia airport, and you were blind-folded, you would think that you landed in a third world country. dramatic quote. now, all the new york politicians criticized the vice president for slandering a new york airport. we can be a little defensive as a group in new york. but i actually went the other way. and i said no, the vice president was right.
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let's recognize the truth. my state, every state, needs a modern airport to enter the global economic competition. look at what they're building around the word. and then look at what we're doing here in the great united states of america. if we want to keep pace with the rest of the world, we have to update our transportation network. and if the federal government won't do it, the states must do it as a basic matter of economic survival. now, states getting into this business, brings significant financial challenges for a state, as well as a highly specialized expertise. states don't have the funds to do it without leveraging public/private sector partnerships and that was the discussion we had on p 3s, but it is truly the only vehicle that to get the amount of fubzifub funding the state would need to make a real difference.
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on airport, for example, what that meant for us in new york is the private leasing of the terminal space at airports at the beginning of our construction projects to pay the cost of the construction. we're building a new laguardia airport, which is going to be the first new airport in the united states since the denver airport opened in 1995. it's an $8 billion project. with about one-third coming from government, two-thirds being paid from private sources. to actually build it, we have adopted the design/build method, the state will master plan the project, but we then bid out the design and the construction to a private company with a set completion date and an incentive for early delivery, and a penalty for late delivery. the old addage, know what you don't know, and government does not know how to build. new york recently completed the largest infrastructure project in the united states, a bridge
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across the hudson river with a price tag of $4 billion. it was completed on time, and after many sleepless nights, on budget. it took about four years. building public confidence in government's capacity to actually complete these big projects is essential if we are to have the political will to move forward on an ambitious building agenda. we want the federal government to know that the people of this nation want this kind of leadership and participation. that means the people of this nation need to know that if we embark on this venture, we can get it done, and we will get it done, and it will happen efficiently and effectively. we're now in the middle of the largest building program in new york state's history, $275 billion in infrastructure. we're rebuilding our airports, the laguardia, jfk, our regional airport, and upstate new york, train stations, mass transit,
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roads, bridges, statewide. all projects incorporated resiliency, we are ensuring 100% statewide growth band in economic necessities to attract businesses to the rural parts of our state, but these development projects are basically essential for economic survival. and if the federal government will not step up and fund them, then the state must. at the same time, we have a second level of construction and investment which are basically regional development programs, where we identify the economic potential within a discrete region of the state, that needs help, and we invest in those projec projects necessary to bring that economy up in that region. and those projects are tailored specifically to those regions. for example, northern new york, we have the adirondacks. their economy is basically based on tourism, outdoor recreation, so there, we're building new
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lifts, new lodges, new attractions, new roads, new hotels. long island is a different region of the state and we're building an economy based on on our concentration of academic institutions and biotech development. we're trying to steal a page from north carolina and have our own research triangle on long island. and we're financing laboratories and schools and new rail transportation. syracuse in the central part of the state, we're developing a cluster economy on unmanned vehicles and drones and we just built a 50-mile drone testing area, one of the largest in the country. but these regional economic development plans are originated by business leaders in the region, working with local elected officials, and the state comes in to provide the investment capital. so far, we've spent about $25 billion on these regional economic development projects, 18 billion from the private
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sector, 7 billion from the state. but the point is, again, regional development that grows the economy, because we need the economy to grow, to pay for the capital investment that the state made. and further, those economic advancements. in closing, my last point is, that while we all hope for an active federal partner, the reality is that after such a long delay, i think the best course forward is for the states to hope for the best and plan for the worst. if the federal government decides to embark on an aggressive building program, which we all will advocate for, they are going to look to the states to find projects that are ready to go, right? they're going to turn to the states and ask for shovel-ready projects. we saw this in 2008, when the federal government started a stimulus program, and went out to the states and said, give us your shovel-ready projects.
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and it was very hard to have a shovel-ready project before you have the financing, but for states, we're doing the best that we can to have those projects ready, once the federal funding becomes available. we are investing a record amount in building so people often ask me in the state, is this economically prudent? i say, look. first, we must recognize the economic reality. we're all in a national competition for the same businesses and the same jobs. and the locations that better serve the private market will win, whether they are in china or europe or utah or texas or new york. to me, the question is, can the state not afford to grow its infrastructure and its economic capacity? second, in new york we have never forgotten what drove our original success. yes, we have new york city, which is on the sea coast and provides a great natural harbor,
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but that did not exclusively drive our economic growth. 1817, the nation was looking for a way to open up the west. at that time the west was basically west of the mississippi. thomas jefferson and george washington were planning a series of canals from the potomac to access the west. in new york, governor clinton, no relationship to bill clinton, said he had a plan. his plan was the ships could come into new york harbor, go up the hudson river, make a left at albany, and come out across the state of buffalo which is on the great lakes and then from the great lakes you can take a river down and you'll be in the, quote-unquote, west. skeptics said, one question. when the ships make the left at albany, how do they get out at
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buffalo? that's 400 miles all land locked. governor clinton said, no problem. i will build a canal that goes across the state and we will pull the barges with horses and mules. 1817. 400 mile canal. the people of the state thought it was so crazy they tried to impeach him on the grounds of insanity. but he did it. seven years, on time, and on budget. and he built the erie canal. that was really the infrastructure that made new york a commercial engine. but that is the innovation. that is the daring, the ambition, the spirit that built this nation. and it still lives in every governor and in every state. as was said on an earlier panel
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the line from the kevin costner movie was right. if you build it they will come. the line was right. the name of the movie was wrong. it's not a field of dreams. this is a country of dreams because we are the nation of dreamers who had the skill, the tenacity, and courage to actually make it a reality. we did it and we can do it again if we just have the wisdom to work together. thank you. [ applause ] it's my pleasure to introduce governor herbert. we got to see with our own eyes at salt lake city how governor herbert has been making progress happen in his state of utah. the people of utah have been lucky to have him. so is the nga.
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no one loves the nga more than its former chairman. thankfully, governor herbert is not leaving us until the end of this year so we're going to lean on him until then. let's give a big welcome to our dean, governor gary herbert. [ applause ] >> thank you, governor cuomo. i am honored to be here and take a few minutes with you here today. as this is my 11th winter meeting it gives me an opportunity to tell you thanks for all the contributions you and your predecessors have made here to me as i've listened and learned and been able to translate some of that wisdom you've imparted to me into the success of utah. i recognize we're all a little bit different, different cultures, different backgrounds, different politics. what i say today is kind of
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emblematic of what's happened in utah and maybe you can learn from some of the things we've done and certainly i can learn from you. i appreciate governor cuomo's comments about dreaming and the possibilities. i live in a state really built upon dreams and possibilities and trying to in fact work together in what was a public/private partnership, those who came to utah to try to make the desert blossom as a rose. let me just mention a couple things i make in observation. the topic assigned is investing in the future. i make this observation that the wealthier you are generally speaking the healthier you are. you have access to better quality health care. so having a focus on economic development and growing the economy is important for all of us. it's how you pay the bills, whether infrastructure needs, which we focused on here today with larry's initiative, or
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paying and funding education, health care. whatever your issues are. they vary around the country. again, having a healthy economy helps us pay the bills. secondly, new york is about 108 years older than us. i'm a new state. we can learn from those who have been down the trail a lot longer than us and some of the new innovations coming as we've embraced technology are things we've been able to appreciate, maybe get onboard a little quicker than some of the states. but the focus for all of us should be on economic development and in doing so understand this is a herbertism that capital is a coward. capital either falls in or out based on how it feels. and if it feels welcome, capital flow to your respective states, your regions, to your businesses. if something is amiss, it will find other places to go where it is more welcome. so what we've tried to do when i came into office at the depths of the great recession was to
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kind of reset our compass and say what can we do to in fact improve the conditions in our state of utah to have a focus on coming out of the economy and become the best economy we can possibly be? we wanted to be the best. number one in america. and, also, add to our opportunities to be an international business destination. why not? we speak 130 languages in utah so we are built to international business. doing so, basic principles were something that we embraced. for example, we have competitive tax rates. we have flattened out our tax rates that happened under my predecessor governor huntsman. we flattened it out so they're now and have been lowered since then to be below 5%. about 4.9% flat rates for personal and corporate income taxes. we've also wanted to make sure we streamlined our regulations.
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we went through and counted the regulations in our statutes and the regulations that it spawned and found 368 of them had really no public purpose. didn't level playing faelds, make an equal opportunity. it was not designed to help keep the bad people at bay. it was just kind of a drag on the economy. and so as you would do we in fact removed those regulations and said to the market place we're open to business. we don't want to have things that make it more difficult for you to be successful as a business enterprise. we also wanted to find a way to make government more efficient. we understood as you do, too, that government is a monopoly. whether we are good, bad, or indifferent in how we spend the taxpayers' money generally doesn't mean any difference to whether we'll be around next week or next year or ten years from now. in the private sector that makes a big difference. if you don't in fact compete as has been mentioned here today, the competition from china, a
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global marketplace, not just in our respective regions or states, really a world competition now. the private sector if we don't compete properly will lose profit, lose market share, then lose our business. recognizing that is not the same rules the government has to play on we've brought in our cabinet, our senior staff members and said, what can we do to find more efficiencies in our state government? everybody bought into it. we developed what is called a success program. we won't have time to go through that today. but in doing so we said, we can find more efficiencies. and in doing so, save taxpayer dollars. to give you an example of two things we've done emblematic of many things we've done, today in the state of utah, we actually have fewer state employees than we did back in 2002. you have to go to 2001 to find a smaller number. that's 19 years ago. in the meantime we have over
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900,000 more people that now call utah home. more demands on state government. but we're providing it with fewer labor, raised technology, and better processes. that saves on average now and growing about $400 million to $500 million per year for the taxpayers if we just had kept up with inflation or just the rate of growth. and what we also have done, the department of motor vehicles, which we know is kind of used as a bad example of state government, our department of motor vehicles, dmv, the average wait time now is less than five minutes. so we're doing things a lot more effectively and efficiently with making our government more effective. last but not least, the entire effort here is to try to empower those in the private sector. we do believe in private/public partnerships. most everything we do is with a private partner. we contract on roads, we contract on buildings. some of the services we provide
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we contract and have competition and bidding that takes place to make sure we get the best and most efficient use of taxpayer dollars in providing services. we've had great success in that to the point that right now where we don't spend more than we take in, just like a business, we're saying you got to run this and live within your means, we have one of only 12 states today that have a triple-a bond rating from the rating agencies on wall street, which allows us to borrow money at a lower cost when we do construction. we don't use any one-time moneys for ongoing needs. we don't have any structural imbalances. and so the fiscal prudent has allowed us, in fact, a good, solid foundation for growth of the economy and the private sector. last but not least, let me talk about some of the things we've done to -- i had the opportunity, some of you did, to hear from the second lady, karen pence, who talked about the need for us in our regulations to see
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what we can do to have reciprocity between the states particularly with our military personnel. four years ago we said to any military personnel that are moving into the state of utah, if your spouse is a licensed whatever, a lot of them were teachers, if you're licensed in another state, licensed in new york, licensed in maryland, when you come to utah that license will in fact be accepted. to help them find jobs and honor our military and their service. that's been a good job for us and has helped our unemployment rate now in the state of utah is 2.3%, the lowest in our nation and the lowest in the history of our state. and our unemployment for our veterans is 2%. so even lower because we've helped in many ways with our military people. one of the other things i'm most pleased about, again, he is running for president, but i had an opportunity to meet with mayor bloomberg and they did a
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study on utah and found in their analysis that the largest middle class that we have in the country today is located in utah. so we've been able to have significant economic expansion and growth. we've created on average 3.7% new jobs in the private sector for the last decade, the most healthy economic decade in our state's history. that is a pretty healthy growth rate. we now have more jobs than we have people. our challenge now is labor. and we've emphasized skills and training with our education post high school and we've emphasized vocational technical training to fill some of the avoids that are out there now. but we've been able to lift people out of poverty in a significant way this last decade so that, to the point we not only have the largest middle class, but we have the third lowest poverty rate now in the state of utah that we have in the nation. so with that, again, we've had great success. we are happy to share with you our success.
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it worked for us. it may work for you. we're happy to share what we did and how we did it. last but not least when it comes to infrastructure we've spent, when i first came into office we were spending about a hundred million dollars on highways and roads. we now spend on average every year now about $800 million on roads and have bonded for some others. so we understand what's being talked about here, the importance of infrastructure. to allow not just for quality of life and ease to get from point a to point b but it is an economic development tool. businesses won't come if you're in constant gridlock. so our investments, our infrastructure, roads, highways, byways, has been a big deal. and it continues to be a big part of our budget today. we've also created just outside of our airport an inland port. again, trying to find ways for goods to come into the country without having to go through the coast necessarily, which are kind of backed up to have an inland port. some of you have done this
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already. where we have rail and highways and air all coming together. help us reduce plaugollution, concentrate in an area that makes it easy for commerce to come in and out of the state of utah and the country for that matter. along with that we will have a new airport. we're remodeling our airport. some of you have been there many times. we appreciated having you there last year. but we are now going to open up the new airport which is going to be completely remodeled and reconstructed, $4 billion cost. we'll be starting to open up in the fall of this year. so, again, we talk about being the crossroads of the west in utah. if you look at the map we're just kind of the bulls eye right there between canada and mexico and the midwest and the west coast. but we're doing things to enhance that opportunity. as governor cuomo talked about, it is a matter of us working together, finding ways to find new ideas, in fact, fulfill the
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dreams and hopes and aspirations we have not only for ourselves but, more importantly, for those who come after us, our children and our grandchildren. so again, i think all of us can, in fact, learn from each other. that's what the nga is about. i thank you for all of the contributions you give to us to help utah become the best they can. thank you very much. president wilson goes before a joint session of congress on 2 april and in that seven-page speech we all remember that nine, ten, 11 word phrase where we must fight to make the world safe for democracy. so when african-americans hear that, they believe because they are citizens they are third, fourth, and fifth generation americans, and the leading scholar, w.e.b. dubois is saying close ranks, most african-americans believe that. many of them will support the
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war. however, there is a third conversation going on. a. philip randolph when you walk into the exhibition you see his quote. we would rather make georgia safe for the negro. and each one of those has an image and an image under him is three individuals in k.k. k.k.k.regalia. >> you can hear more stories of african-american soldiers in world war ii tonight from a temporary exhibit in washington, d.c. as part of our museum week series featuring american history tv programs you'll find every weekend here on c-span3. enjoy our visit to the african-american museum tonight at 8:00 eastern and american history tv every weekend starting saturday mornings at 8:00 eastern. recently the president of the campaign for


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