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Morelle: Rochester & Syracuse Could Get "Buffalo Billion" Treatment

Assemblyman discussed state and local politics on News 8 First at 4.
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit) talked about a variety of issues on News 8 First at Four on Wednesday.

Morlle said he maintains a good relationship with Assemblyman David Gantt and Mayor Lovely Warren, despite a rift over the Facilities Modernization Plan.

"There is not a divide," Morelle said. "We disagreed on this...if you're not disagreeing with someone at some point, you're not doing your job."

There could be another disagreement in the future. Morelle is skeptical of Warren's desire for a downtown performing arts center. The mayor has formed an advisory group to explore the project.

Morelle is concerned about construction and operating costs.

"The state could very well participate but we're not going to pay 90 percent or probably any more than 50 percent," Morelle said. "Everywhere around the country these operate at losses. So the question is who's going to be responsible for it? Is it the City of Rochester? Is it some other third party? And how do we make certain the State of New York isn't required to come in and rescue an organization because it has operating deficits?"

News 8 asked Morelle about a study showing Rochester has the second-slowest growing economy in the nation. Meanwhile, the governor spends a lot of time in Buffalo, where's he has announced funding for numerous projects.

"There has been money for Buffalo, but not substantially more than there has been for Rochester," Morelle said. "What (Governor Cuomo)'s done is he's spent a lot of time there. There's some marketing. He and I have talked about it actually. He believes that when you drive a lot of attention, you talk about something, you can help bring the private sector partners together with you. He has also said to me he believes Rochester and Syracuse in his second term, if he's lucky enough to be elected and I certainly hope he is, will really receive that kind of treatment."

On the topic of a Monroe County casino, Morelle would not say if he supports one. He said the Senecas are waiting to see where the four non-Indian casinos in the state will be located before pursuing anything here again.

"I believe more and more they have to be tourist destinations rather than located in a place that's simply convenient, but doesn't really grow the economy," Morelle said.
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