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AP sources: Cuomo to get business group backing

ALBANY — Two officials say Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Cuomo will be endorsed today by the influential state Business Council.

The endorsement in Syracuse is a key upstate win for Cuomo, who faces Republican-Conservative Carl Paladino, a developer and tea party activist. The officials informed of the decision spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the endorsement hadn’t yet been announced.

One said the business group will back Cuomo because of his proposed caps on property tax increases and state spending as well as his ability to get those measures — longtime goals of the council — enacted.

The endorsement comes after Paladino’s economic platform appeared to be well received when he spoke at the council’s annual meeting last week. His speech called for ending and cutting some business taxes and cutting property taxes, while creating a more friendly environment for business, particularly in the long distressed upstate area.

But that was also the night Paladino got into a shouting match with a reporter that got wide coverage. A Siena College poll released Tuesday showed that episode may have blunted the surge Paladino saw after winning the GOP primary last month.

The Business Council has long been a lobbying force in Albany, often focused on lowering property and corporate taxes and reducing the state’s regulation of new and growing companies.

The council’s support was a key element for Democrat Eliot Spitzer when he ran for governor. He had been a frequent guest speaker at annual council meetings while attorney general.

The Business Council was important in the 1994 victory by the little-known Republican George Pataki over Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Andrew Cuomo, now attorney general, didn’t attend the Sept. 29 council meeting at a Lake George resort, sending his running mate, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, instead. Duffy is running for lieutenant governor.

Also today, a person close to the campaign says Cuomo will be endorsed by Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a rising star in the GOP.

The endorsement, expected today, gives Cuomo solid support in Central New York, part of his push to win upstate in a big way over Buffalo’s Paladino. The source spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made public.

Mahoney has long been seen in Albany as a rising star in the Republican Party. She had previously supported Republican Greg Edwards, the Chautauqua County executive, in his lieutenant governor run with former Republican candidate Rick Lazio.