Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751; cell: (518) 859-8518
Next week, when the governor's Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) award funding for projects around the state, New Yorkers are likely to hear a familiar story about how successful the state's economic programs have been. However, the governor's rose-colored insistence that all is well - particularly upstate - ignores the fact that New Yorkers continue to live in one of the worst tax and business climates in the nation.
The REDC grants are a component of the governor's job-creation and development plan, and one in which he "awards" taxpayers with their own money. However the "winners and losers" program is an Albany-centric handout painted as a locally-driven program. It has, sadly, become commonplace in Gov. Cuomo's administration to ignore objective return-on-investment and chase headlines.
DRASTIC CHANGES ARE NEEDED TO THE STATE'S ECONOMIC PROGRAMS
Outside of the REDC awards, the governor's other economic development programs, like the failed START-UP NY and Buffalo Billion, have been riddled with corruption and a total lack of transparency. The latter will be the focus of a corruption trial beginning next month. While the governor continues to tout the success of his programs and proclaim the upstate economy issues resolved, numbers tell a dramatically different story.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released statistics showing upstate jobs grew by only 0.6 percent between 2010-2016. The rest of the country added jobs at a 1.6 percent rate during that same period.
- START-UP NY created just about one-third of the 3,300 jobs it promised, despite costing nearly $60 million in state funds.
- The "Buffalo Billion" program cost more than $250,000 for each new position generated.
- New York State spends more than $8 billion in taxpayer money each year on job-creation programs - more than the combined total of the next three largest states.
- Despite massive spending on economic development upstate, three out of every four jobs created in the last eight years were in New York City.
IT'S TIME TO END THE GIMMICKS
Gov. Cuomo's economic development programs simply aren't working. Next week, though, you will certainly hear a narrative about a revitalized upstate full of record-setting investments and a future filled with new jobs and prosperity. In reality, the governor has had seven years to turn New York around, and while enormous sums of your money may have been spent on improving the economy, the results are lackluster.
It is time to reverse course and strike at the heart of New York's poor economic climate. Lower taxes, reduce regulations and stop hemorrhaging money on programs that don't work. If we continue on our current trajectory, we can expect to be right back at the bottom of virtually every economic climate metric again next year.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.