Seward: Victory In Empire Zone Fight

James L. Seward

March 23, 2005

Senator James L. Seward today said that the legislature has agreed to additional empire zones for counties without them, capping a three year struggle to secure the job-producing tool for Greene, Schoharie and Tompkins Counties.

"This week the legislature agreed that the new state budget should include provisions for the addition of 12 new zones over the next four years," Seward said. "It is great news for Schoharie and Greene Counties, since they have been without zones of their own and struggling to keep pace with counties that have them."

In addition, Seward said that Herkimer County would be eligible for its own zone. It currently shares a zone with Oneida County.

The legislative agreement also restores state funding for administrative costs for current zones, which had been stricken by the governor in his proposed executive budget.

The plan, a compromise between the two houses, permits additional zones on a competitive basis, but Seward said he would push to make sure that counties without them receive priority consideration.

"A county without a zone is at a disadvantage in competing for new business," Seward said. "We have succeeded in convincing the assembly that all counties should be on a level playing field when it comes to this valuable economic development tool."