Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry and co-chair of the State Legislature’s joint budget conference committee on economic development, announced today that the 2007-08 state budget passed this weekend contains funding for regional economic development initiatives, as well as significant business tax cuts, that will boost Western New York’s economy.
Schimminger said, “We have succeeded in including special funding in the budget for several projects aimed at creating and preserving jobs in our community, in addition to providing important tax cuts that will help spur business investment and job creation. Accelerating the full implementation of the single sales factor apportionment, phasing in a reduction in the tax rate imposed on net income for corporate franchise, bank and life insurance taxpayers, and reducing the alternative minimum tax will cut business taxes by $150 million this year alone and benefit manufacturers and other key sectors of our region’s economy.
“I’m particularly pleased that the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program, which leverages low-interest bank loans for small and medium-sized businesses, is being expanded by authorizing the deposit of an additional $150 million in state funds in participating banks that make linked deposit loans,” Schimminger stated. “I authored this program and to date it has leveraged close to $2 billion in private sector investment and created and retained more than 30,000 jobs at some 2,600 businesses.”
“The Western New York-specific budget items will supplement funding for 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,” said Schimminger.
Schimminger outlined the budget items as follows:
Center for Excellence ($1,179,116). The Buffalo Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics, whose partners include the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, other health care institutions, and several national computer and bio-pharmaceutical companies, will receive increased operating support. Launched several years ago with $100 million in state funding, the focus of the Buffalo Center is on developing new drugs that ideally will be produced right here in Western New York. Several new life sciences companies already have been spun off, while others have relocated to the region.
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise ($300,000). The Assembly has again allocated funds for the BNE’s regional business marketing initiative. The BNE’s advertising campaign and trade show 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.
N.Y.S. Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation ($250,000). Situated at the University of Buffalo, NYSCEDII and its world-class simulation systems will receive continued operational support from the Assembly. The industrial outreach, training and education, and research missions of NYSCEDII provide the potential for the establishment of Western New York as a cluster for high-end visualization and design engineering, which will be a big help to local manufacturers in developing new products and improving production processes.
World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara ($174,600). One of nearly 300 WTCs licensed by the World Trade Centers Association, the WTCBN assists area companies to enter, grow and compete in international markets. These funds earmarked by the Assembly will support the WTCBN’s efforts to establish a Global New York Web-based information resource, hold trade education workshops and seminars and provide company-specific international business development services.
Canisius College Women’s Business Center ($50,000). As a U.S. Small Business Administration-designated Women’s Business Center, the WBC at Canisius College provides women entrepreneurs and small business owners with training, counseling, coaching and networking programs and activities designed to make their ventures more successful. This Assembly funding will be used to design, purchase and implement a new Web-based data management system.
WNYWorks ($30,000). An initiative of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Workforce Development Council, WNYWorks will receive funding from the Assembly to continue to survey employer skills needs. The periodic WNYWorks surveys are shared with the region’s local Workforce Investment Boards and training providers to help ensure that training/retraining programs meet the current and projected needs of area workers and employers.
Iambuffaloniagarajobs.com ($15,000). These funds provided by the Assembly will help the region’s collaborative job search Web site, which is administered by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, stem Western New York’s “brain drain” of young people leaving for job opportunities elsewhere. Iambuffaloniagarajobs.com involves a dozen private sector organizations and government agencies and links job applicants with local employment opportunities. Through this cooperative effort that Schimminger initiated, employers can list local job openings on one central Web site, while job seekers in the area and those seeking to return home to the region can post their resumes.
“I am, of course, pleased that I was able to help secure state funding for these important economic development initiatives in Western New York,” said Assemblyman Schimminger. “Improving our region’s economy and job creation climate is my top priority.”