Republican Lee Zeldin has pinned blame on Democrats, and Gov. Kathy Hochul in particular, for an economic malaise in the state that’s led to population loss.

“We want all New Yorkers to be able to stay, to live here, to thrive and not have to leave,” Zeldin said in his victory speech after winning the Republican primary in June. “Right now, you look at other states where you feel like your money will go further.”

Zeldin is trying to convince voters he can fix the problem, in part by cutting government spending and regulations.

What You Need To Know

  • Republican Lee Zeldin has made the economy a top campaign issue, arguing that Democratic policies are driving population loss in New York

  • Zeldin wants to reverse the state’s long-standing ban on fracking and approve more gas pipelines, which he says would create jobs and reduce energy costs

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul has been touting the recently announced deal to bring a massive microchip manufacturing campus to the Syracuse area

  • Hochul also earmarked $600 million in state funding for a new Bills stadium and $350 million for investments on Long Island

On job creation, he recently pitched the creation of small business incubators — the first of them in Harlem — and voiced support for vocational programs.

He said he can improve the state’s business climate.

“One of the key things that we need to do is cut taxes across the board,” he said in remarks last month before the state Business Council. “That includes getting rid of the estate tax in New York. I, personally, am somebody who would be all in favor of there not even being an income tax in New York.”

Zeldin also wants to reverse the state’s long-standing ban on the natural gas extraction method known as fracking.

He also supports the approval of more gas pipelines.

Zeldin said those moves would create jobs and reduce energy costs, but they also put him sharply at odds with environmental advocates.

Meanwhile, Hochul has touted her record on job creation.

She’s pumped state money into renewable energy projects that will create so-called green jobs, and into major development initiatives like the deal to bring a massive microchip manufacturing campus to the Syracuse area.

Hochul also put $600 million in state funding toward a new Buffalo Bills Stadium and set aside $350 million for investments on Long Island—all part of her efforts to boost the state’s economy.

“I want to banish the reputation of New York as being a high tax state,” she told the Business Council. And in fact, in our budget, we cut middle-class taxes by $1.2 billion. We had a property tax rebate. We also suspended the gas tax.”

Zeldin had also campaigned against the gas tax — one of the few areas where the two appear to agree on.