Cuomo recently said Regional Economic Development Councils will be created for 10 regions in the state. Each of the 10 councils will have four months to develop a five-year strategic plan. Plans will be evaluated according to their vision, strategies, implementation, ability to leverage other resources, performance measures and how well the strategic planning process engages the public and diverse stakeholders.
Under the new process, the 10 councils will be able to apply for state funding to support projects they determine to be part of their regional strategy using a new Consolidated Funding Application, making the projects eligible for grant money and tax credits from dozens of existing programs. The combined pool of funding totals up to $1 billion.
Bill Daly, county Industrial Development Agency director, said the new economic development plan will be successful under the right leadership.
”It will work if the regional councils work,” Daly said. ”They have to put up ideas for people to buy into. We hope the goals in the plan will breakdown regional barriers to make economic development projects better. The regional councils can be a good opportunity to do that.”
Daly said Chautauqua County should be well represented on Western New York’s regional council with County Executive Greg Edwards or a selected representative for the county’s highest elected official. Also, a representative from Jamestown should also be included on the council.
Each council will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy and will be led by two vice chairs from the business and academic community.
Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits and community-based organizations. Daly said the councils will have to focus on three areas to create a plan for Western New York that will create more and higher paying jobs.
”They will have to work together to create a better workforce, then get money to get businesses to start in the region and then try to capture the intellectual property created in state universities to stay in New York state,” he said.
Heather Briccetti, The Business Council acting-president and chief executive officer, said she is optimistic about Cuomo’s economic plan.
”With a positive legislative session behind us, the business community strongly believes that work remains to be done to lower the cost of government, create private sector jobs and strengthen New York’s economy,” she said. ”The governor’s second phase of his plan for a new New York sends a signal to business leaders that the state is prepared to not only control the cost of government, but to invest in business.”
Ms. Briccetti said, hopefully, the new plan will streamline the economic development process for New York.
”By looking at economic development from both a statewide and regional perspective, business and civic leaders will have direct input into how economic incentives, procurement practices, tax relief and mandate relief initiatives are designed,” she said.
Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development chief executive officer, said Cuomo’s economic development agenda is an opportunity to revitalize the state’s economy and put people back to work.
”It is only with a region-by-region, competitive approach that we will be able to optimize the state’s resources and maximize our potential to create new jobs that will deliver on the promise of sustainable economic growth throughout the state,” he said.
By Dennis Phillips