County Exec hopeful Bellone unveils ‘Innovate Suffolk’ plan

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Babylon Town Supervisor and Democrat Suffolk County Executive candidate Steve Bellone (center) unveiled his "Innovate Suffolk" plan on Monday at a Medford technology company that produces accelerator systems for national laboratories.

County Executive hopeful Steve Bellone unveiled an economic plan Monday that he hopes will encourage the growth of innovation-based economy within the county.

Speaking at a press conference held at Advance Energy Systems in Medford, a private technology company that produces accelerator systems for national laboratories, the current Babylon Town Supervisor said his “Innovate Suffolk” plan is a comprehensive economic development strategy that will create high-tech research jobs.

“We have the opportunity to create jobs, create opportunity and to expand our tax base,” Mr. Bellone said, adding that his agenda is in the spirit of Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko’s initiative to assist local entrepreneurs in cultivating new ideas. The “Accelerate Long Island” program is now in the hands of the Long Island Association, which is in the process of forming a committee to execute the plan Mr. Lesko says will help private sector companies commercialize new technologies.

While Mr. Lesko’s plan aims to help entrepreneurs “cook-up new companies” by utilizing resources available at local research facilities, Mr. Bellone said he’s looking to help innovators establish those new technology businesses within the county.

In order to achieve that goal, the Democrat is proposing to create “innovation zones.” Those areas will be publicly-owned parcels that he hopes new technology companies will seek out because they will feature desirable tax rates.

In addition to identifying key locations, Mr. Bellone said his plan will provide technology job training.

“It is very important that we make sure that in this new innovation economy, that every community in our county has an opportunity to take part in it,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to align the county’s job training programs with the industries that we are [providing incentives to].”

Another component of Mr. Bellone’s plan is to develop a “Suffolk Innovation and Research Fund“ to help start-up companies get off the ground by utilizing funds from the county’s Industrial Development Agency.

“The work starts now and speeds up on January 1,” Mr. Bellone said.

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