Gov. Cuomo has historically taken care of downstate interests and now he has a plan to revitalize the economy of upstate New York and create jobs. But, those of us who can see through the smoke, mirrors and rhetoric aren’t buying it. The governor’s proposal is to devote $1.5 billion to a regional economic development competition. Seven regions of upstate New York will compete for one of three $500 million awards. The regions are the Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.
The governor’s plan is to pit local communities against each other for a finite amount of funding. Instead of encouraging collaboration between local upstate governments and distributing funding more evenly throughout, he has essentially created a zero sum game. Gov. Cuomo doesn’t understand that collaboration of resources and ideas across regions promotes all of upstate; the same as how a rising tide floats all boats. How is it that New York City is given loads of funding each year for programs like social services and education and yet upstate has to fight for scraps? If his proposal is adopted in the 2015-16 enacted budget, upstate will essentially have three winners and four losers. Furthermore, the method by which the winning regions are chosen is by a five-member panel; all of which were probably handpicked and will be told how to vote by Gov. Cuomo himself.
The governor continues to blame upstate cities for its own infrastructure and employment problems while he pillages upstate and funnels money to his Tappan Zee Bridge project. Gov. Cuomo’s economic development plan is extremely misguided and takes attention away from the larger problems of our state; a devastating business climate and underdeveloped infrastructure. Cuomo’s hunger games rely on an area’s ability to prove that private-sector investment will happen if funding is awarded, but he is clueless about the fact that without proper infrastructure, business development cannot take place. Our taxes remain the highest in the nation and major businesses are relocating jobs out of state, yet Gov. Cuomo thinks a dog-eat-dog scenario will create jobs. His plan is to make enemies out of upstate regions so they will criticize each other and not him.
The governor continues to virtually ignore small businesses during each year’s budget cycle, and now he is trying to mask his failures by giving each region “an equal chance” at winning prize money. But we all know that Gov. Cuomo has already picked which regions will prosper and which will continue to degrade. The correct solution would be to fix New York’s dreadful business climate and distribute the people’s money equally across upstate New York.
Assemblyman McLaughlin represents the 107th district, which consists of parts of Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington counties. For more information,
please visit Assemblyman McLaughlin’s Official Website