Assembly’s $2 Million Investment Will Help Revitalize Regional Economy

Funds to help launch The Essential New York Initiative; Senate, Governor should match Assembly commitment
March 4, 2004

It’s no secret that our economy isn’t as strong here as it should be. For too long, we’ve lacked concrete plans to help get us out of the economic doldrums, and so good jobs have become more and more scarce, and our young people have been forced to leave the region.

The Assembly is trying to change that. The Assembly has pledged $2 million to the Metropolitan Development Association of Central New York to implement a comprehensive plan aimed at creating jobs and revitalizing Central New York’s economy.

The Essential New York Initiative – an economic development plan targeting a 12-county Central New York region, including Cortland and Tompkins Counties– takes into account all of our regional strengths – like a strong university system, a first-rate workforce, and emerging high tech industries – and brings them together to create jobs.

Revitalizing our economy will not happen overnight, but this regional approach provides a clear road- map to recovery through university and industry collaboration. By aggressively linking thousands of talented students to local companies and entrepreneurs, the economy can be expanded, new technology can be created and industries of the future can be built.

Cornell University, which accounts for 82 percent of our region’s university research and development, currently lags behind comparable institutions like MIT in the number of start-up companies resulting from research initiatives. To remedy this, the Essential New York Initiative would help formalize networks between research and industry and link the research being conducted with the new direction of area businesses. Just as important, it will help slow the exodus of young people by making sure there are good jobs that meet their skill levels.

This is a strong, innovative plan developed with input from business executives, academic leaders and economic advisors – one that leaves us with a smart strategy for economic growth – and I urge the governor and the Senate to also invest $2 million apiece so we can start rebuilding our upstate economy.

In an area where good economic news sometimes seems hard to come by, the Essential New York Initiative will help start us down the path of economic prosperity and growth.