Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Rochester on Thursday and announced the sequel to the Buffalo Billion.
Instead of giving other Upstate regions their fair share, Cuomo said there’s only $1.5 billion for the rest of us.
Oh, and we’ll have to fight each other for the loot.
The governor made this announcement in the only big-city county he lost in November. When Cuomo lost Erie County, he showered money and love on Buffalo. When he lost Monroe County, he thrust us into a game show.
No wonder Mayor Lovely Warren ran away after this announcement.
Warren probably wanted to say, “I thank the governor for his commitment to Upstate New York and for allowing us the opportunity to compete for money that we should get anyway. Rochester has the highest rate of child poverty in the state. We get less state aid per capita than any other Upstate city. The legislature makes us pay our school district $119 million every year, more than Syracuse and Buffalo pay their school districts combined. The governor likes to reward excellence, so he should take a look at our city’s great credit rating. But we thank him for giving us the opportunity to spend hours duplicating the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council plan. We probably have to make it look ‘different,’ or he might say we cheated. I appreciate the fact he is letting Rochester at least have a shot at a fraction of the cash he gave Buffalo. We are so lucky to have him.”
I’m not convinced throwing money at companies, New York’s chief economic development strategy, always works. I’m not convinced $1 billion or $500 million will make a giant difference. (Buffalo’s job growth looks as bad as Rochester’s.)
But there’s something to be said for equity. There’s something to be said for treating local governments with respect. There’s something to be said for not pitting communities against each other. When you create winners, you create losers. Monroe County voters figured that out.
@rachbarnhart It's the Hunger Games , which district will win?!
— suzie (@lovefingerlakes) January 15, 2015
Links of the Day:
– Cuomo’s property tax plan isn’t a cut. It’s a subsidy.
– The profit made by a Buffalo school construction contractor could be crazy high, but it’s secret.
– Parents were investigated for letting their children walk around by themselves. Their kids have to carry cards saying “free range.” We are criminalizing activities that were perfectly normal when we were children.
– Data shows Americans really, really like their giant vehicles.