Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751; cell: (518) 859-8518
State government has a responsibility to foster job creation and spur economic prosperity. Efforts must be made to enable businesses to put people in jobs, allowing families to put food on tables. But government also has a responsibility to be honest about its performance in that critical role.
Gov. Cuomo's narrative about New York's economic development efforts has moved from bravado to hyperbole to downright fantasy. Speech after speech, press conference after press conference, the governor insists the state's economy, especially upstate, is on the right track. The facts tell a vastly different story.
UPSTATE JOB GROWTH STILL STAGNANT
The governor has spent a great deal of time and energy lately traveling upstate and touting his investment of public money and the great economic turnaround those efforts have generated. But two recent reports indicate that New York's economic climate and success pale in comparison to what's happening across the rest of the nation.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released statistics showing upstate job growth has been an embarrassing 0.3 percent since the beginning of 2016, a rate that shows a bad situation getting even worse. Between 2010 and 2016, upstate's annual job growth was only 0.6 percent while the rest of the country added jobs at a rate of 1.6 percent. According to the report, job growth in Buffalo has "slowed to a crawl," and the Rochester region has actually lost jobs in the past two years.
The statistics are bad enough. But what makes the situation worse is that New York is pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into economic development programs that clearly aren't working. New Yorkers are experiencing a return on investment that would get a private-sector CEO fired.
On top of stagnant job growth upstate, New York once again has one of the two worst business climates in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. The punishing climate in which New York business owners are forced to operate stands in stark contrast to the incessant "Open for Business" claims this administration has made for several years.
AN UNSUSTAINABLE AND EXPENSIVE APPROACH
The Assembly Minority Conference has rallied year after year for broad, wholesale tax cuts and regulatory relief. New York needs permanent policy solutions to fix our ailing business climate, rather than gimmick programs that pick winners and losers. We will continue to fight for permanent policies that make doing business more affordable.
The state's economic development programs lack accountability and transparency, and are not living up to lofty promises. Job-creation statistics show a miserable return on investment for the billions of taxpayer dollars pouring into these programs. This failing approach has become a colossal waste of your hard-earned money. Ribbon cuttings and rhetoric make for great sound bites, but they don't help New Yorkers put food on the table.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.