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Astorino discusses health care, Cuomo’s work, during meeting in Massena

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MASSENA - Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino made a stop at Curran Renewable Energy in Massena Monday afternoon as part of a two-day swing through the north country.

During his stop in Massena, he covered a variety of topics during a meeting with Massena Mayor James F. Hidy and Curran Renewable Energy owner Patrick J. Curran .

The trio discussed topics ranging from health care coverage to their assessment of the current governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.

“There are so many industries in New York that are just being driven out of the state by the extraordinarily high taxes, the terrible business climate, the over regulation and quite frankly the attitude of this particular governor that he’s going to pick and choose who wins. You can’t do that,” Mr. Astorino said.“This whole START-UP NY thing is a joke and it’s not how business’ operates. ... It’s only (for) a particular type of industry that he has chosen to go on a particular piece of property that he says is ok - which would be SUNY - and then if you meet all of these other qualifications maybe you can get a tax break.”

He was also critical of the Affordable Care Act. “They created a whole new problem to fix something that could have been done a much different way. You show me a massive federal bureaucracy that has ever saved money,” Mr. Astorino said.

“I’m pro health care and the reason being because of the number of employees who worked for me over the years that didn’t make it to Medicare age for one reason or another. A small business like this, I tried to hold them on health care but after a while you just can’t do it,” Mr. Curran added. “For that aspect alone, if there’s something out there that they can get themselves on to and at least carry themselves without losing the assets that they have...”

Mr. Curran said that health care coverage for his employees totals $1,400 per month per family with the company picking up 80 percent of it.

“You’ve got what 7 million people that signed up? Six million of them were either thrown off their original coverage so they had to get new coverage, or they were Medicaid eligible,” Mr. Astorino said. “What you’re not hearing is - this is a massively expensive system that they’ve set up - probably not going to get the results that were intended. ... There’s no question that we should have health care coverage for people. I don’t want people to be without it and lose everything, but the way they went about it was totally wrong.”

Both Mr. Astorino and Mr. Hidy talked about their frustrations with some current regulations and mandates on both the local and regional level.

“We have a lot of small businesses and I strongly feel that’s really the heart of any community. I’ll walk into a deli or I’ll walk into a dry cleaner and just see and hear from the owners directly - I know the health department’s supposed to come in and inspect - but are they being fair and are they being reasonable? If they come in and see something, instead of writing a violation, explain to the owner and give them time for you to come back. If you come back in a couple of weeks and if it’s not fixed then fine them,” Mr. Astorino said.

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