- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

COLONIE, N.Y. (AP) - The Business Council of New York State endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election bid Wednesday, praising the Democrat’s work to cut taxes and improve the state’s business climate.

Cuomo, who faces Republican Rob Astorino in next month’s election, has made his work on the economy a centerpiece of his campaign for a second term. The endorsement from the influential business group is another victory for the governor, who has said he hopes to appeal to both Democratic voters and those in the Republican party - often seen as the traditional party of business interests.

Cuomo called the endorsement “a testament to the bipartisan progress we have made to turn around New York and get our economy on the right track.”

A spokeswoman for Astorino, however, questioned the Council’s choice. Astorino, the Westchester County executive, spoke addressed the Business Council at its annual meeting last month and had hoped to win their endorsement.

“It’s absurd that any business organization would endorse a governor who has presided over the highest taxes in America, the worst economic outlook, one of the worst business climates and the most people leaving the state,” said spokeswoman Jessica Proud.

The group’s president, Heather Briccetti, cited Cuomo’s work to cut taxes and state spending, rein in government inefficiency and revitalize upstate New York’s economy. The group also endorsed Cuomo during his successful 2010 campaign for governor.

The Business Council represents about 2,400 businesses around the state.

Cuomo received the endorsement during a visit to an Albany-area fuel cell manufacturer.

The governor used the campaign even to highlight efforts to encourage high-tech investment in New York. He said that if re-elected he would push to invest $500 million in state funds to lay 6,000 miles of fiber-optic line to improve broadband access throughout the state.

Other candidates on next month’s ballot include Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott.

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