Monthly Archives: January 2013

Progressive medicine is Roswell’s newest venture

Roswell Park LogoTracey Drury wrote the following story for Buffalo Business First:

Roswell Park Cancer Institute has unveiled plans for its new center for personalized medicine, building on a project first announced last year.

The Center for Personalized Medicine(CPM) at Roswell Park will provide patients with custom care, while creating a resource for scientists and medical providers. Roswell Park has invested $16 million in the site, developed over the past year, thanks to a $5.1 million state grant awarded as part of a $100 million allocation to the region by the WNY Regional Economic Development Council.

Housed within the hospital’s Center for Genetics & Pharmacology at 645 Virginia St., the 5,000-square-foot biotechnology initiative has grown as a public/private collaboration with CTG, as well as three other local institutions: the University at Buffalo, Immco Diagnostics and WNY Urology Associates LLC.

Roswell Park officials said Wednesday morning the CPM represents the region’s first resource for next generation gene sequencing that meets federal clinical laboratory improvement amendment standards. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy participated in the announcement, where he pointed to the economic development to be spurred by Roswell Park and its partners.

Personalized medicine is an approach to diagnosing, treating and managing disease by sequencing the genome and looking for clues in a person’s biomedical makeup.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read about Public Policy Institute’s Report on New York’s Bioscience Sector:
Buffalo-Rochester Region Called Premier Bioscience Cluster

Manufacturing in New York region contracts for sixth month

From Bloomberg News:

Manufacturing in the New York region contracted in January for the sixth straight month as the industry continued to face the effects of fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. and lackluster demand overseas.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index fell to minus 7.8 from a revised minus 7.3 in December. The median forecast of 54 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a reading of zero, which signals no change in conditions. Readings of less than zero signal contraction in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

Weakness in manufacturing is holding back the economic expansion, damping the effects of advances in housing and household spending that are contributing to growth. On Jan. 1, Congress and President Barack Obama reached an agreement on taxes and spending after a protracted standoff that had caused some companies to hold back on investment. The pact calmed some so-called fiscal cliff worries even as it triggered a higher tax bill for American workers and left policy makers with more budget cutting to do.

“The manufacturing sector in general has been stuck in neutral for several months now,” said Thomas Simons, an economist with Jefferies Group Inc. in New York, who had forecast an improvement in the Empire index to minus 2. “It still hasn’t shown any progress. We’re still stuck in the mud here.”

U.S. Economy

Manufacturing makes up about 12 percent of the U.S. economy and about 6 percent of New York’s.

Economists monitor the New York report and Philadelphia Fed factory readings, due Jan. 17, for clues about the Institute for Supply Management figures on U.S. manufacturing, set for release Feb. 1.

 

Websites promote manufacturing and service providers in New York

Empire State Development has launched  an advertising campaign in nation magazines and television that promotes the “new New York” website.  You will see these ads in magazines like Time and Newsweek. The Website is design to attract business to locate in New York.  To learn more visit http://www.thenewny.com/.

At the same time, The Business Council has created the “Made In New York” website designed to promote the products, services, educational opportunities and unique destinations that New York offers.  You can see the latest Made In New York video by clicking here.

According to ABC News, if every American spent $64 on something made in America once, we could create 200,000 jobs right now. 12,379 of those would be in New York. Imagine if we spend just a little more on products made right here in New York.

The Business Council believes that New York needs to make the state more attractive for private-sector investment. Invest that will improve our economy and create good-paying private sector jobs. Renewed economic growth will benefit workers and families, and produce the tax revenues needed to finance necessary public services.

Working together we can build New York’s economy, one product, one service, one job at a time!

Board of Regents seeks increase for schools

From the Wall Street Journal:

ALBANY—The Board of Regents is seeking a 3.5% increase in funds for New York state’s public schools, about $100 million more than what Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes in his budget for the next fiscal year.

Education Commissioner John King outlined the board’s funding request, specifically in formula aid, during a joint budget hearing Tuesday of Assembly and Senate members.

The Regents propose a $75 million investment in full-day, pre-kindergarten programs for high-needs students and seek $9 million for overdue payments to hearing officers involved in tenured teacher cases. The plan also proposes $1.5 million for development of new English language arts exams for ninth- and tenth-grade students and $500,000 for a pilot computer testing program.

Mr. Cuomo’s proposal would set aside $25 million for pre-kindergarten programs in the form of competitive grants, along with $20 million in competitive grants for extended learning time and $11 million for stipends for high-performing teachers.

While competitive grants are useful for certain pilot programs, Mr. King said, programs that are proven effective, such as pre-kindergarten, should be available for all within the school aid formula. “The evidence is longstanding and overwhelming that pre-K is a good investment,” the commissioner said.

The Regents budget recommends a formula aid increase of $709 million, compared with $610 million in Mr. Cuomo’s plan. The governor would supplement spending with $203 million in fiscal stabilization funds and the competitive grants.

Lawmakers also heard from Council of School Superintendents Deputy Director Robert Lowry, who said that despite the proposed aid increase, 84% of districts would still receive less from the state than they did four years ago. Many districts see financial and educational insolvency in the future, he said.

9/11 fund sets first payments

Ground Zero FirefighterReporter Devlin Barrett of The Wall Street Journal wrote the following story on the compensation first responders are receiving from the federal government. I’m posting it in full for those of you who don’t have an online subscription to the WSJ:

Fifteen emergency responders who worked at Ground Zero will be the first to receive awards from the new Sept. 11 victim-compensation fund, for amounts ranging from $10,000 to $1.5 million, officials said Tuesday.

The fund has received fewer than 100 completed applications for money, officials said. That suggests the program may end up receiving far less than the 34,000 total claims for aid that fund officials estimated.

Congress created the $2.8 billion fund two years ago to compensate those who developed health problems after working around the sites of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as a Pennsylvania field where passengers forced the crash of a jetliner hijacked by terrorists.

Fourteen of the recipients are firefighters, and one is a New York state corrections officer, fund officials said, and all suffered respiratory problems.

Sheila Birnbaum, a New York lawyer appointed as special master of the fund, said recipients would get only 10% of their total award at first because she doesn’t know yet how many people will ultimately apply or how severe their illnesses will be.

“I think we have good news for people. We’ve been working very hard to get the process up and running,” she said.

So far, more than 16,000 people have registered with the fund, but a fraction of those have filled out all the necessary paperwork, officials said. As of last week, the fund had received 194 compensation applications (including the fewer than 100 that had been completed). “Most of them are incomplete—even though they’ve been submitted, they haven’t provided all of the information,” Ms. Birnbaum said.

Noah Kushlefsky, who along with another attorney represents about 5,000 people seeking compensation, said he was thought there was “a concern there’s going to be a mad dash” when the October deadline for filing claims approaches. “I think there’s a general surprise that it’s not 25,000 people making claims,” he said.

Many first responders applying to the fund haven’t provided signed authorizations allowing administrators to confirm with the New York police and fire departments that the applicants worked at the Ground Zero site. “It’s been a difficult process to get the documentation we need,” Ms. Birnbaum said.

Under the fund’s rules, lawyers representing those with claims can’t take more than 10% of the award payments.

Ms. Birnbaum said she aimed to have $10,000 be the minimum award. The awards are calculated based on economic loss, pain and suffering, minus other payments such as pensions or disability payments for injuries.

The firefighter who received the largest initial reward of $1.5 million is now 43 years old and suffered severe respiratory problems that forced him to retire on disability, she said.

Two years ago, Congress passed legislation creating the fund in response to years of complaints that those who were made sick by their exposure to toxic substances at the Ground Zero site needed and deserved health care and compensation.

Out of the total $2.8 billion, the law makes $875 million available during the fund’s first five years. Because of that structure, the fund is setting total award amounts now and plans to make payments over the years to reach those amounts.

Ms. Birnbaum said it was difficult to tell how many people would seek compensation for cancers they believed they developed as a result of working at or around Ground Zero—and how costly those illnesses will be. For those two reasons, she said, the first payment would be 10% of the total award amount, a portion she described as “conservative.”

Corrections & Amplifications
Fourteen firefighters and one New York state corrections officer will be the first to receive compensation from the Sept. 11 victim compensation fund. An earlier version of this story, based on information from officials, incorrectly said the initial group consisted of 15 firefighters.

Write to Devlin Barrett at devlin.barrett@wsj.com

An “unconventional” entry into the race for NYC mayor: Gristedes owner Catsimatidis

catsimatidis-articleLargeReporter Michael M. Grynbaum wrote the following story for The New York Times :

John A. Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, stood on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday and announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for mayor of New York City.

Then he started talking about his suit.

“I think my wife paid $100 for this jacket,” Mr. Catsimatidis, who bills himself a “common billionaire,” said as he gripped the lapel of a plus-size Jos. A. Bank blazer. “I’m not wearing a $5,000 suit.” He warned his daughter, standing nearby, that he would not be buying her an $80 million apartment. Later, he added, “I feel the people’s pain.”

“There were times in the ’80s,” Mr. Catsimatidis, a 64-year-old Upper East Sider, said, “when I was afraid to walk from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue.”

It was an unconventional announcement from an unconventional candidate, a corporate dealmaker with no political experience, no natural constituency and little support among the city’s chattering class.

Click here to read more.

 

Names for gaming commission surface

Albany Times Union LogoJim Odato writes in the Times Union – “State Racing and Wagering Board lawyer Rob Williams will be asked to don another hat and run the new gaming commission for awhile, a Cuomo administration source said on Tuesday.

Williams, who is already acting director of the Division of the Lottery and who has been serving in the executive chamber, will be acting director of the new body to oversee all legal gambling, racing and lottery operations statewide.”

To read more click here.

Tech companies welcome bill to raise number of H-1B visas

The Wall Street Journal (1/30, Peterson, Subscription Publication) reports Microsoft and other technology companies welcomed a Senate bill that would increase the number of H-1B visas for skilled foreign students. Microsoft, Google and other companies said that increasing the current annual limit of 65,000 visas would ease their labor problems and boost business.

The Washington Post (1/29, Kolawole) “ideas@innovations” blog reported, “In a statement of resounding support for the Innovation Immigration Act, IBM Governmental Programs Vice President Christopher Padilla said in a statement, ‘These elements are critical for companies like ours so that we can support our clients and drive economic growth.'” Intel’s director of government relations, Peter Muller, wrote yesterday, “the current focus on immigration reform presents the best opportunity we have seen in years to make needed fixes to the employment side of the immigration equation and the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 is an excellent start.”

Obama Calls On Congress To Approve Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The New York Times (1/30, A1, Landler, Subscription Publication), in a front-page article titled, “President Urges Speed On Immigration Plan, But Exposes Conflicts,” cites as one source of likely disagreement the President’s insistence “that there must be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants ‘from the outset,'” which, according to the Times, “would seem at odds with the assertion by some senators that citizenship must be tied to tighter border security.”

Report: Health care spending up for state and local governments

State and local health spending accelerated in 2011, bucking recent national trend

According to the Pew Foundation  –  “While total U.S. health care spending grew slowly in 2011, rising about 4 percent, the story for state and local governments was dramatically different, according to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Health care spending by states and localities increased 10 percent, and consumed a larger share of revenues—about 3 out of every 10 dollars—than has been the case for these expenses since at least 1987.[1]

When combined, federal and state spending on Medicaid—the jointly financed insurance program for low-income Americans—ticked up by less than 3 percent. But states’ share of Medicaid costs climbed by more than 20 percent, and the program remains their largest health care budget item.

As state and local governments continue to navigate through the aftermath of the Great Recession, health care spending remains a main source of fiscal pressure.”

To read more click here.

W-2s list cost of providing a health plan

Robert Pear writes in the New York Times -” As workers open their W-2 forms this month, many will see a new box with information on the total cost of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. To some, it will be a surprise, perhaps even a shock.

Workers often have little idea how much they and their employers are paying for coverage. In many cases, economists say, workers give up cash compensation to get and keep health benefits.”

To read more click here.