Democratic for Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone laid out his economic agenda Monday afternoon, calling for measures — including making unused public land available for private enterprise — to turn the county into "America's next research triangle."
“We have all of the ingredients and everything that we need right now to make Suffolk County an economic powerhouse,” said Bellone, the current supervisor, from inside Medford’s Advanced Energy Systems.
, who's taking on in the race to replace Steve Levy, said the region already has "incredible assets," such as and Brookhaven National Laboratory, to help facilitate its push to become a nationwide technology leader.
, who spoke following a tour of AES alongside CEO Anthony Favale, made several references to North Carolina’s “Research Triangle,” an area made up of numerous high-tech companies and research-oriented universities.
said to get Suffolk County moving in the same direction he would create “Innovation Zones” to attract and retain high-tech businesses.
Ideally these zones would be on publicly owned parcels that are currently off the tax rolls, thus allowing the county to offer “the lowest tax rates on businesses Long Island has ever seen,” said.
Among the other facets of ’s economic agenda: pumping money into start-ups from a new Suffolk Innovation and Research Fund and expediting the permit process “to get businesses up and running faster than anywhere in our region.”
“We have to recognize that the greatest impediment to economic development on Long Island today is government,” said Bellone, calling for county agencies to be “more business friendly” and operate as efficiently as possible.
Bellone said there were four major challenges currently facing Suffolk County: high costs, a lack of diversity in housing stock, young people continuing to leave in record numbers and not enough creation of high-paying jobs.
“Those four challenges are feeding off of one another,” Bellone said, “and strengthening each other in a way that poses long-term systemic risk for our economy.”
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko, who established the new initiative to bring institutions — including Brookhaven National Lab, Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory — together to commercialize scientific ventures, said he was onboard with Bellone’s agenda.
“I think Steve’s idea is absolutely what government needs to be doing,” said Lesko, a Democrat. “It’s groundbreaking, it’s innovative and I think it’s going to be a wonderful complement to Accelerate Long Island.”