Senate Holds Business Roundtable To Focus On The Upstate Economy

James S. Alesi

February 07, 2008

Business & Academic Leaders Join Senators in Utica to Discuss Revitalizing the
Upstate Economy and the Senate’s Upstate Now Plan

Members of the New York State Senate Majority Conference recently held the first in a series of Upstate community business roundtable forums in order to highlight the pressing need to revitalize the upstate economy. A focus of the event was the Senate Majority’s Upstate Now legislation, which represents the only comprehensive job creation and economic growth plan to be introduced in Albany this year.

The roundtable, was held Wednesday, September 19th at the SUNY Institute of Technology campus near Utica. The discussion included participation by local business and academic leaders and was jointly chaired by Senator James S. Alesi (R-C, Perinton), Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C, Rome) and Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta).

"Upstate cities and towns are in desperate need of a real plan that will invest in the local economy and create good paying jobs," said Senator Alesi. "As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Small Business, I have made it my priority to work with my colleagues to develop innovative solutions to make doing business in New York more affordable and attractive to companies looking to locate and or expand here. I look forward to working with a variety of local business, civic and government leaders to improve upon our existing economic development package and put forth a plan that achieves the goal of revitalizing the Upstate economy."

"New Yorkers' top priority is economic development and the creation of new jobs," Senator Griffo said. "Especially in the Mohawk Valley, people want a real plan put in place to encourage businesses to locate and grow in Upstate New York. This event, and the economic development plan advanced by the Senate, will help us achieve the goal of more jobs Upstate."

"What we have heard today from local business leaders is that New York needs to be more competitive and that important and fundamental changes are essential if we are to attract and grow businesses to our area and create a climate in which young people stay here and find rewarding careers in business, education, finance or the professions," Senator Seward said.

Several local business leaders participated in today’s roundtable discussion, including:

> Brian O’Shaughnessy -- President, Revere Copper Products;
> Cathy Newell -- President, Mohawk Ltd.;
> Michael Baldwin -- President, DART Communications;
> Douglas Robinson -- President, Utica National Insurance Group;
> Nicholas Matt -- President, F.X. Matt Brewery;
> James D. Benson -- President, F.E. Hale Manufacturing Co.;
> John Piseck -- Custom Tool & Model, Inc.; and
> Mary Morse -- Owner, Kwik-Kut Manufacturing.

Among the topics addressed were the following: reducing the tax burden on businesses and property taxpayers; promoting growth in traditional industries such as agriculture and manufacturing, as well as in new and emerging technologies; the need for capital investments in Upstate’s infrastructure and key economic development projects; helping families pay for college and encouraging young New Yorkers to remain in Upstate following graduation; reducing energy and health care costs; and promoting Upstate’s outstanding historic, environmental, and cultural resources.

The forum also highlighted the need for the enactment of the Senate Majority’s omnibus Upstate Now legislation, which represents the only comprehensive job creation and economic growth plan to be introduced in Albany this year.

The 10-point Upstate Now plan (S.5953) would invest more than $3.7 billion into economic development initiatives over the next three years, including new tax relief and incentives, new and existing capital investments and private sector matching funds.

The Upstate Now plan would: reduce taxes, energy and health care costs for employers; provide Upstate with a 21st century economic infrastructure; strengthen small businesses, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and other key industries; make Upstate an international leader in new and emerging technologies; revitalize downtowns and local communities throughout the region; support clean, renewable energy initiatives; strengthen our workforce; and enact sweeping reforms to make the Upstate region more business-friendly and economically competitive.

Two more business roundtable events are scheduled for October 2nd in Buffalo and October 3rd in Rochester. Additional events will be announced in the future.