Altschuler: End EPCAL ‘bureaucratic logjam’

10/25/2012 6:57 AM |
Altschuler, EPCAL, Bishop, RIverhead Town

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Randy Altschuler at a debate in Riverhead.

Development at the Enterprise Park at Calverton is critical to the future of Long Island’s economy. The fact that this process has become so bogged down in red tape and political wrangling underscores what’s wrong with government today, and how it’s hurting job creation.

Make no mistake, without new economic development Long Island will continue to struggle with rising property taxes, foreclosures and young people leaving in search of jobs and a better life elsewhere. We must reverse that trend.

We can’t tax, spend or borrow our way out of this; we need to grow our way out of it with forward-thinking economic growth policies that make Long Island a destination for business again.

Every time I speak with Supervisor Sean Walter and the Riverhead Town Board members, or read what they say in the paper, their frustration with this process is evident and I share it.

They have worked tirelessly to complete the redevelopment at EPCAL, yet seem to run into obstacle after obstacle.

Enough is enough. If I am given the honor of representing Suffolk County in Congress this November, breaking this bureaucratic logjam and moving this project forward will be a priority.

Unfortunately, private sector job growth simply has not been a priority for Congressman Tim Bishop. He seems to believe government has all the answers; I don’t. This is a perfect example of where government should be helping to foster economic revitalization on Long Island, and instead they are stifling it.

I will take a different approach. Relying on my experience in the private sector and willingness to work across party lines to get things done, I will bring all sides together and seek to build consensus on a path forward at EPCAL.

The failures to date are a prime example of how government, even with the best of intentions, gets in the way of an economic recovery.

For instance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo established Regional Economic Development Councils to promote and provide state grants for worthy projects. It was a good idea, but the irony is that the state, through the DEC and its over-aggressive regulatory policy, is hindering the implementation of the kind of economic development Gov. Cuomo rightfully promotes.

In my specific, 10-point jobs plan (LIJobsPlan.com), I have outlined several ways to bring more businesses and job opportunities to Long Island. We need to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape, for businesses that want to relocate or grow right here in the 1st Congressional District. We need to make Long Island a magnet for high-quality, good-paying jobs again. Our future depends on it.

We all realize that the EPCAL property could be home to industries from manufacturing to high-tech to recreational entrepreneurs. It could quite literally be the crown jewel of Long Island’s economic future — we simply cannot let this opportunity slip through our collective fingers.

Mr. Altschuler is the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop. He is a businessman and St. James resident. This piece was originally published on Oct. 18 in the News-Review newspaper.

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