Senate GOP seeks to jolt action on state budget with Power for Jobs proposal

George Winner

May 17, 2010

Albany, N.Y., May 18—State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) and his Senate Republican colleagues will propose a legislative amendment on the Senate floor later today to restart New York’s key economic development power programs – Power for Jobs and Cost Savings Benefits programs –  to keep low-cost electricity flowing to local businesses and manufacturers for one additional year or until Governor Paterson and the leaders of the State Legislature can reach agreement on a long-term solution. 

The programs officially expired last Saturday.  Late last week, Winner highlighted the looming expiration as the latest example of how inaction by Governor David Paterson and the Democratic leaders of the Legislature threatens the upstate economy.    

“The termination of these low-cost power programs is an upstate job-killer.  It puts thousands of upstate livelihoods at risk.  It’s unthinkable that New York’s Democratic leaders continue to turn their backs on our upstate communities, workers, and families.”

Winner noted that while the Senate has previously approved legislation to make the low-cost, economic development power programs permanent, no action at all has been taken by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  As a result, approximately 70 companies, accounting for over 60,000 jobs statewide, are at risk of losing the energy cost savings that have become critical to their operations.  Locally, for example, Anchor Glass Container officials have said in the past that the state’s Economic Development Power program saved the company approximately $1.4 million annually and was critical to maintaining its work force.

Winner and other upstate legislators have argued that making the programs permanent is critical to giving current and prospective manufacturers the long-term certainty and stability needed to attract them to the upstate region.

“A long-term solution is the number one goal, but in the meantime we can’t just let them go dark.  These programs are vital to maintaining jobs and promoting economic growth and stability here in the Southern Tier and across upstate New York.  Every manufacturer depends on this low-cost energy to preserve jobs and remain competitive,” said Winner.  “With these manufacturers facing the highest energy costs in recent memory, now is not the time to pull the plug on their economic development electricity.”