Democratic gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's economic development process during a news conference Tuesday, just down the street from the Tesla plant in South Buffalo.
The Democratic primary election race for governor is perceived as between progressive Democrats like Nixon and organization Democrats like Cuomo.
The challenger blasted the corruption in building the Tesla plant, which led to criminal convictions against high state officials and a local developer. Nixon said it does not matter if Elon Musk wants to take Tesla private.
"What it doesn't change is the fact that we had a governor here who said he was going to spend $1 billion in Buffalo. That is an enormous, enormously good idea. But three-quarters of that initial investment went to this factory, with very little job creation to show for it," Nixon said. "We have to do a better job of investing our economic development dollars."
Nixon and supporters said there is too much economic development determined from the top by rich people who may have a stake in what happens, and not enough development determined by people on the ground in the neighborhoods.
"The governor has cut taxes for corporations, for banks, for the rich and he has gutted public goods and public services for everyone else," she said. "It has led to a crumbling of our infrastructure and inadequate wages in our fastest growing industries. Meanwhile, communities of color and minority-owned businesses are being left behind."
If elected, the challenger said she will be here in Western New York in a way the governor has not been for months since the Buffalo Billion corruption scandal broke. She called for higher minimum wages for every New Yorker, especially home health care workers where there are hundreds of thousands of jobs now and in the future.
"I will rapidly move Upstate and suburban New Yorkers to a $15 minimum wage by putting them on the same schedule as exists for full implementation as exists for Long Island and Westchester," Nixon said. "We are one state and our entire state deserves a statewide $15 minimum wage."