As our attention begins to turn again toward the beginning of the 2010 regular session of the New York State Legislature, it’s as good a time as any to start staking out the themes and priorities that need to dominate next year’s agenda.
For me, first and foremost, that’s going to mean the upstate economy.
We’ve heard repeated pledges to “reverse the decline” of upstate over the past decade, but the alarm, it seems, has never been loud enough to produce a government-wide awakening on the need for action on and investment in the upstate economy.
It’s been disappointing. And it became even more disappointing earlier this year when Governor Paterson and legislative leaders enacted a 2009-2010 state budget that contained virtually nothing in the way of upstate investment, but instead has been gouging businesses and taxpayers – especially upstate businesses and taxpayers – in the weeks and months since.
Over the past several years, there’s been no shortage of bright spots of progress around our region, and I’m hopeful that we’ve put in place an economic foundation that’s going to help us weather the current economic storms and emerge stronger on the other side.
But we need to keep working at it.
So as the calendar begins to turn toward 2010, I’ll be doing whatever I can to turn New York government’s focus, more and more, in an upstate direction.