Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, announced tonight that the 2004-05 state budget passed by the legislature contains funds for several economic development initiatives in Western New York. The budget also contains two newly enacted tax reductions championed by Assemblyman Schimminger that will have a favorable impact on the region’s economy.
Schimminger said, "We have succeeded in including special funding in the budget for projects aimed at creating and preserving jobs in our community. These Western New York-specific budget items will supplement the state’s various economic development programs that offer low-cost financing and venture capital to businesses as well as grants and loans for new facilities or expansions, productivity enhancements and job training."
"I’m also pleased that among a handful of new tax reductions included in the budget, we were able to incorporate two tax-cutting measures I’ve sponsored in the Assembly that are aimed at boosting the upstate and local economy," said Schimminger. "Cutting the petroleum business tax on kero-jet fuel used on airline flights within New York State, and exempting airlines that serve at least four communities within the state from the tax altogether, will help to reduce airfares to and from Buffalo and other upstate cities and encourage more low-fare carriers to serve in-state markets. Also, our action to eliminate the sales tax on general aviation aircraft services will provide a boost to the 18 commercial airports and the hundreds of general aviation airports in the state by making New York competitive with our neighboring states that exempt such aviation services from taxation, thereby encouraging the provision of more aviation services in the state." Schimminger also observed that two previously enacted tax cuts – a further reduction in the gross receipts tax on energy and new tax incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields – which had been scheduled to take effect in 2005 will stay on track as planned.
The funding items for Western New York include:
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus ($2,000,000). A consortium of world-class medical research institutions located near downtown Buffalo, the BNMC is focused on promoting the clinical, research and academic excellence of its member institutions, improving and adding to the current medical campus infrastructure, and advancing economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities in the campus area. These Assembly funds will support the BNMC’s efforts to further life sciences research and create spin-off technologies and businesses, including the development of an Infrastructure Fund to enhance parking and access and create shovel-ready sites for private sector development at the campus and the establishment of a Pioneers of Science Development Fund for acquiring equipment and making related laboratory renovations at campus facilities.
American Axle & Manufacturing Tonawanda Forge ($1,000,000). American Axle’s Tonawanda Forge again won Assembly backing for its multi-year training initiative. Over the previous seven years, AAM/Tonawanda has received a total of $4.6 million for a training program jointly developed by labor and management to address a nearly 80% turnover in the facility’s workforce in the wake of AAM’s purchase of the plant from General Motors.
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise ($300,000). For the sixth consecutive year, the Assembly has allocated funds for the BNE’s regional business marketing initiative. The BNE’s advertising campaign, trade shows and other promotional activities are designed to expose the Buffalo Niagara region to site selection professionals and corporate decision makers as a desirable location for new or expanding businesses.