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Business leaders outline 2013 agenda

A group representing the local business community has released its list of priorities for boosting the region's economy.

Topping the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership's Regional Agenda for 2013 is urging Congress and President Obama to address the "fiscal cliff," the billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts will kick-in after the New Year and send the economy into recession.

"If the scenario does occur, a lot of what we've detailed in this agenda is a moot point," said the Partnership's Government Affairs Manager A. J. Wright.

Next are several items of unfinished business from 2012, including appointments to the Power Proceeds Allocation Board. Until Governor Cuomo fills the seats, Wright says $20 million generated from the sale of excess hydropower can not be spent on economic development in the area.

The Partnership also continues to prod Cuomo to sign legislation that increases the cap on the State's Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which would spur several projects in downtown Buffalo and across upstate. Wright says he's not sure why it's being held up or if Cuomo supports it.

"Historically it's been difficult to get a tax credit passed if it's included in the budget because of the balanced budget aspect," Wright said.

Wright says the Annual Agenda is a launching point for talks with elected officials.  

"About 12-13 years ago, the Western New York congressional delegation actually asked for this to be created in order to prioritize, collaborate, and have bipartisanship on what priorities need to take place in this area," Wright told WBFO News.

The group's other unfinished priorities include renovating the Peace Bridge Plaza in Buffalo and retention of the 914th and 107th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Base.

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