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Gillibrand proud of Remington, but says backing it is up to Cuomo

Ryan Delaney

Firearm manufacturer Remington Arms is a part of New York's long tradition of manufacturing, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says, but using taxpayer dollars to make sure they stay in upstate New York is up to the governor.

The Democrat was on the road in western and central New York on Monday promoting her "Made in America Manufacturing Act," her first bill of the new Congress which is aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing. 

Answering an off-topic question from the Innovation Trail's Ashley Hassett, the senator expressed her support for the tradition of New York manufacturing as exemplified by companies like Remington Arms, which has been in the news as New York has debated gun control.

Here is the senator's comment:

Well, Remington has been a very strong manufacturer in our state, it’s a manufacturer that New Yorkers are very proud of, and I think that they will make their own business decision about whether it makes more sense to be here in New York or to be in another state. But as we’ve said today, New York has excelled in manufacturing, we are very good - we have a strong manufacturing tradition and as New Yorkers we support the second amendment so hopefully they’ll stay here and I suspect they will.

In the few weeks since New York passed new gun control laws, lawmakers from several states have reached out to the owner of Remington Arms to encourage the company to consider relocating.

During the course of the gun control debate in New York, the $5.5 million in tax incentives New York gave Remington from 2007-2011 has become a thorny issue.

Here's Gillibrand's response on the question of more tax breaks:

That’s something that Governor Cuomo can look at if it’s an important financial consideration for that manufacturing. It’s something that the governor does with a lot of our manufacturers to think of what are incentives to, for example, put a manufacturing facility in an at-risk area or an area that we really need to create jobs, so that’s something that the governor will certainly weigh when he looks at his economic policies around the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the day after signing the NY SAFE Act that the new regulations would not have a "significant impact" on Remington's business.

Local economic development officials, state legislators and even Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) have all spoken out in support of Remington. The plant opened in 1816 and employs more than 1,200 people in the Mohawk Valley town of Ilion.

Remington's owner, Freedom Group, has remained fairly quiet on its future.

Gillibrand was speaking in Lancaster, a suburb of Buffalo, at the headquarters of the thermal processing company Harper International. She later stopped in Rochester and Syracuse.