Senate Holds Rochester Business Roundtable To Focus On The Upstate Economy

James S. Alesi

October 09, 2007

Members of the New York State Senate Majority Conference today held the third 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 today at the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. The discussion included participation by local business and academic leaders and was jointly chaired by Senator James S. Alesi (R-C, Perinton), Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee and Senator Joseph Robach (R,C,I,WF-Greece).

"The title of our economic development plan, Upstate Now is highly appropriate as Upstate cities, towns and villages are in desperate need of revitalization," 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. This roundtable will bring together a number of minds that all speak in a united voice for our communities that we need to invest in Upstate, bring down the cost of living and doing business here and we need to do it now."

"Upstate New York needs solutions to problems that have contributed to our lagging economy and lack of opportunity for our citizens," said Senator Robach. "I am proud that the Senate's Upstate Majority has responded with Upstate NOW -- a sweeping package of real tax relief, focused investment and other benefits that will help employers, and our Upstate communities grow again. This roundtable will provide a unique opportunity for community leaders, business owners and citizens to discuss the problems facing Upstate New York and discuss and plan a way to solve them."

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.