Members of the Assembly Republicans' Western New York delegation today sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy; Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development; and members of the state's Strategic Plan Review Committee urging them to closely analyze Western New York's regional economic development strategic plan and allocate the funding needed to help revitalize the regional economy.
In the letter, Assembly members Dan Burling (R-C-Warsaw), John Ceretto (R-I-Lewiston), Jane Corwin (R-C-I-Clarence), Joseph M. Giglio (R-I-C-Gowanda), Andy Goodell (R-C-Chautauqua County), Steve Hawley (R-C-I-Niagara County). Kevin Smardz (R-I-Hamburg) and Ray Walter (R-C-I-Amherst) highlighted the council's proposals to invest in higher education, agriculture, tourism and other resources unique to Western New York, while emphasizing the need to revitalize the region's economy.
"I applaud the Western New York Regional Economic Council for their considerable efforts in developing a strategic plan that works to level the playing field for Western New York. Based on the current recommendations presented by the council, I strongly encourage Lieutenant Governor Duffy to provide the necessary funding for these programs to help jump-start the struggling economy in our region," Burling said. "I am further hopeful that in the next round of recommendations the council works to boost and expand all of our diverse economic assets throughout the greater Western New York region."
"By investing in several of the proposals laid out in Western New York's regional economic development strategic plan, we can begin to set the foundation for a stronger, more prosperous and diverse economy in Western New York," Ceretto said. "Proposals such as expanding the Niagara Falls International Airport will help to foster immediate job growth, while utilizing the region's resources and talent to promote long-term and sustainable growth and economic revitalization."
"This regional development plan is essential for putting Western New York back on the economic map and I urge the Lieutenant Governor to strongly consider our region as a recipient of development funding," Giglio said. "Businesses, the unemployed and our communities all have been disproportionately affected by economic woes in one form or another. Western New York has a very diverse economy with the potential for extraordinary growth. A healthy stream of investment capital is certainly welcomed and deserved for our region."
The lawmakers agree that Western New York is both in need and deserving of this economic development funding and pointed out how the region has repeatedly been hurt by budget cuts, high taxes and burdensome regulations, leaving it at a competitive disadvantage in attracting new businesses and creating jobs. The delegation's members are looking to the state to help unlock Western New York's potential by competing for up to $200 million in capital investments and tax credits in the first round of the regional development grant.
"The council's plan proposes important measures in support of our agricultural industry and creating a central business district in Chautauqua County," Goodell said. "Above all else, this plan will support Western New York's vitality at a time when economic stagnation is forcing families and businesses out of our community. Please provide the funding these projects require so that we can make Western New York a leader in the recovery of the state's economy."
"The council's proposal offers many constructive ideas to revitalize Western New York's economy, chief among them being the support and expansion of our agricultural industry," Hawley said. "For a region that has been hit especially hard by budget cuts in recent years, now is the time for state government to step up to the plate for the health and success of Western New York. I hope that the necessary funding will be committed to our region so that we can transform not only our local economy but that of the entire state."
"For far too long, Western New York has been without an effective blueprint for its economic revitalization and survival in the 21st century. The comprehensive proposal submitted by our region's council represents a stark departure from that status quo," Smardz said. "By strategically utilizing our region's greatest assets, from the Buffalo/Niagara Medical Campus to the state's largest research institution at the University at Buffalo, we can usher in a new era of economic growth and innovation while providing the necessary training to produce the skilled workers needed to complete the job. I strongly urge Lieutenant Governor Duffy and the strategic plan review committee to accept Western New York's proposal and provide the necessary funding to help aid in our long overdue revitalization."
"The council's plan focuses on many worthy projects, mainly investing in higher education institutions like University at Buffalo that can truly jump-start Western New York's economic recovery," Walter said. "The fact of the matter is that Western New York has the potential to revitalize New York's economy and is not only in need of this funding, but is truly deserving of support as well. I sincerely hope that we can work together to make sure our region is put in a position to succeed during this process."
Western New York members said they are committed to working with the Economic Development Corporation to find creative ways to get Western New York's economy back on track and are confident that any investment made in the region will yield statewide benefits in terms of jobs created and new revenues due to increased economic activity.