First and foremost, I’ll take this chance to tip my own hat to one of our region’s most distinguished and most influential citizens, James R. Houghton, former chairman and CEO of Corning Incorporated. Late last week at its annual meeting, the Business Council of New York honored him with its 2010 “Corning Award for Excellence.”
This prestigious tribute is given annually to a New Yorker who has demonstrated “outstanding accomplishment and a deep and sustained commitment to the people of New York.” For the people of Corning and all of the Southern Tier, that gets right to the heart of what James Houghton and the Houghton family has meant and given to our region – a deep and sustained commitment.
It pays to pay attention. That’s always great advice, but it sure isn’t advice that New York State has taken to heart when it comes to the cost of its Medicaid system.
In fact, New York leaders are being told a billion times a week that Medicaid is out of control and consuming state taxpayer dollars at an unsustainable pace. Yet too often it just looks and sounds like not enough people are paying attention. I say a billion times a week because that’s how much the system is costing taxpayers. Medicaid costs approximately $52-billion-a-year in New York, or a billion dollars a week.
Last week we received word about the creation of an exciting new organization that I’m hopeful will help pave a few roads on the way to an economic renewal across upstate New York. At the very least, it appears this organization will be a source of timely, thoughtful, vibrant, and worthwhile ideas and awareness.
This new organization is being called the “Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State.” It’s been established by the Syracuse-based Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), which is the largest association of its kind in New York and one of the nation’s oldest. MACNY represents approximately 350 businesses and 55,000 workers across 19 upstate counties.
Elmira, N.Y., September 11--New York State Senator George Winner joined many state and national leaders today to solemnly recognize the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
Winner released the following statement:
"Today’s many observances of the ninth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our state and our nation are occasions of solemn remembrance of those we lost, of those heroic citizens who responded in our time of need, and of the American troops whose sacrifice and courage continue to help the world stand strong in the face of terrorism today.
Several years ago, well before the onset of the economic crisis that has gripped the nation for most of the past two years, I joined a group of legislative colleagues and prominent business leaders from across the state to stake out reviving the upstate economy as priority No. 1 in New York government. In fact, we spelled out a comprehensive, 10-point job creation and economic growth plan and called it “Upstate Now.”
One of the time-honored flare-ups in New York State politics, and it seems to have been reignited most often throughout the past century when things (especially the economy) turn especially volatile, is the call for secession.
Split New York into two states along an upstate-downstate boundary, the idea goes – we’ll leave them to their resources, and we’ll take care of our own.
Despite the enormous economic and fiscal challenges facing New York and every other state across the nation, we can never stop focusing on and investing in the foundations of a successful future. Put another way, state leaders have to set the right priorities and stay committed to them, no matter what.
In my view, New York’s foundations for the future include the continued development, enhancement, and maintenance of a first-class system of transportation; the ongoing establishment of an educational system – from kindergarten through college – that’s second to none anywhere in America; and a more accessible, affordable, c0st-effective and efficient system of health care.
It’s been a long struggle to raise the state Legislature's awareness of traditionally upstate, small city, rural issues, but over the past two years the challenges for rural legislators have become more and more acute. We’ve seen it time and again in the ongoing battles over the state’s tax policies, economic development priorities, infrastructure allocations and in so many other ways.
So it’s going to remain one of the constant demands of every upstate legislator to remind the downstate, New York City-based leaders who currently control New York government that our state is largely defined by rural regions and the future of these rural communities is fundamental to statewide strength and well-being.
The just-completed 2010-2011 New York State budget puts a few finishing touches on what has become a disturbing and disheartening habit of New York government in the past few years: devaluing not just a strong, but in these toughest of times what should be an unshakable commitment to economic development.
Many of us have been highly critical of the fact that New York's current leaders have not done nearly enough to focus on private-sector job development as one key way to help the state find its way out of this current economic crisis.
But don't just take our word for it, read the latest thoughts from the leader of the Empire State's largest business advocacy organization.
Reading the just-released “2010 Annual Report on Local Governments” from the office of the New York State Comptroller, what’s not surprising is the message it conveys of hard times for local communities statewide.
Upon taking office in the New York State Senate in January 2005, one of the first pieces of legislation I proposed would have initiated a full state takeover of local Medicaid costs and eliminated the property tax as a source of Medicaid funding.
A little-noticed report released in June by the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC), Leadership for Jobs, reviews New York’s economic decline, discusses some of the key reasons for it, and offers a series of recommendations for turning it around.
We know all too well that New York is currently viewed as a business unfriendly state, whose reputation for overregulation and high taxation is off the charts. We understand the nuts-and-bolts agenda that’s required – an agenda that must include lower business taxes, fewer job-killing regulations, and financial incentives that will lead to a better business climate.
The rise of New York’s wine industry is one of New York State’s most remarkable success stories.
In a generation, since the mid-1980's, when many of us can recall that the grape-and-wine industry was on the brink of collapse, it's now a burgeoning statewide industry generating billions of dollars in economic activity, accounting for thousands of livelihoods, forming the backbone of Finger Lakes tourism, and bringing national and international acclaim to New York.