Letter to the Editor: WaMu is Meeting Its Goal

August 23, 2007

Last month Empire State Development sent a letter of notice to nearly 3,000 companies across our state informing them that their Empire Zone goals were not being met. As Ranking Minority member of the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, I have worked hard to foster economic growth in our community and to create quality jobs. While I can not attest to the other claims made by Empire State Development, I am writing today in response to the claims being made against Washington Mutualís call center right here in Albion.

Although Empire State Development claims that WaMu has not met its investment goals, I have looked over a copy of the companyís original Empire Zone application and see that they have, in fact, met their goals. As reported in the Journal-Register last week, even the Orleans County Empire Zone Coordinator believes the WaMu was sent this letter erroneously.

All of us living and working in Western New York know that WaMu is one of the companies that are helping to turn around our local economy and to provide stable, competitive jobs so that we are not forced to move elsewhere in search of employment. The company has held true to their promises to our area and for that, we are grateful. Additionally, WaMu is setting a positive example for other businesses that are in our area.

These claims against WaMu are clearly wrong and I am hopeful that Empire State Development will hastily correct this error with as much publicity as they have used in attempting to scorn this company. The Empire Zones program is a great opportunity for businesses in our state and I am proud to support the program.

As such, I would like to remind all eligible companies that you can apply for Empire Zone status by contacting our regional Empire Zone coordinator offices:

Genesee County Industrial Development Agency
Attn: Steven C. Lockwood
1 Mill Street
Batavia, NY 14020
Phone: (585) 543-4866
Fax: (585) 343-0848
E-mail: slockwood@gcedc.com

Empire Zone of Monroe County, Inc.
Attn: Lydia Birr
50 West Main Street
City Place, Suite 8100
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: (585) 753-2018
Fax: (585) 753-2028
E-mail: lbirr@monroecounty.gov

County of Orleans Industrial Development Agency
Attn: Gabrielle Barone
111 West Avenue
Albion, NY 14411
Phone: (585) 589-7060
Fax: (585) 589-5258
E-mail: gbarone@orleansdevelopment.org