Governor Cuomo recently announced nearly $21 million in funding to create new economic opportunities for New York’s dairy farmers by helping them to produce renewable energy and improve their business operations. The funding will help dairy farmers convert farm waste to energy and develop individualized business and environmental plans to reduce operating costs and increase profitability.
John B. Rhodes, president and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), said, “Farmers that utilize anaerobic digester technology are able to produce renewable energy and lower their costs while providing a number of environmental benefits to their local communities.”
Read more about the program here.
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the NYS Community Schools initiative, a new statewide program aimed at helping schools in distressed communities.
“NYS Community Schools will help give New York students and families a brighter future by transforming our public schools into community institutions that serve the needs of our neighborhoods,” Governor Cuomo said.
Under NYS Community Schools, approximately 30 schools will be selected in the first round to receive grants of up to $500,000 each over three years. These grants will go toward building community partnerships that deliver academic, health, extra-curricular and social services primarily in the school building.
Business Council President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, Esq.’s interview with Gannett Albany Bureau Chief was featured again this weekend as part of an article on Governor Cuomo’s efforts to boost the economy. If you missed the interview, you can watch it online here.
The article highlights how the Governor has made more than 75 trips to upstate and the New York City suburbs this year to promote ways to boost the economy.
In the interview, Briccetti said, that while New York has added close to a quarter million jobs, moving beyond pre-recession levels, these jobs have been added downstate, not upstate. The upstate economy has not recovered and more needs to be done to help upstate manufacturing and job growth.
Empire Visual Effects will partner with Daemen College, located in Amherst, to create 150 new high-tech jobs in the Buffalo area over the next five years. The jobs will be focused creating special effects for television and movies.
This follows the Cuomo Administration announcement that the state will spend $4.5 million of the region’s Buffalo Billion investment to create a new visual effects studio and train workers in the field of post-production.
Financial incentives, in addition to the Buffalo Billion, include New York’s film industry tax credit program that provides a 45 percent tax credit on labor costs and possible participation in the START-UP NY program, which provides tax-free zones for start-up companies located on or near college campuses.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the Mohawk Valley this past weekend pledging to push harder for FEMA funds to help flood damaged areas. A number of communities experienced flash flooding from the Mohawk River as a result of heavy rain June 27 and 28. This was Cuomo’s second visit to the area. He said if FEMA was not responsive, the state would stand behind the disaster declaration and provide help.
E.J. McMahon’s latest post focuses on non-union state and local employees that will be eligible to participate in the same retirement plan that SUNY staff and faculty have been participating in for almost 40 years.
The change was recommended by the Empire Center in the February 2012 report, “Optimal Option.” The annuity-based SUNY retirement model is a better option than the defined-contribution outlined in the original Tier 6 plan but the plan will only be offered to select staff based on salary, so the majority of state and local workers won’t be able to participate.
Read the full blog post on The Torch.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week that the upstate economy will be a top priority. As he toured the state to talk about his Start-Up NY initiative and other economic growth opportunities, such as casinos, Governor Cuomo attributed the languishing upstate economy to a Legislature that has focused past initiatives downstate. “There has been no upstate focus. Why has there been no upstate focus? Because the downstate dominates the Legislature, because that’s where the people are. It’s mathematics.”
Although many business groups feel Start-Up NY, and casinos, will help upstate’s economy, they also feel more could be done. George Miner, president of the Southern Tier Economic Growth, Inc., said, “Tax-free zones are a piece of the puzzle and can help. Fracking would go a lot further than that. No doubt about it.”
Saying a deal could be announced soon, Canadian officials report they have reached an “agreement in principle’’ with New York State to resolve the Peace Bridge conflict. If everything proceeds according to plan, a deal could be announced sometime this week. The deal supposedly aims to ensure free flowing trade across the bridge, although final details are still being negotiated.
Cuomo Favorability/Job Performance Lowest Since He’s Been Governor
More than half of New York voters feel Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver “should step down as ‘Speaker,'” according to Siena Research Institute’s latest survey. And while voters favor passage of all ten points of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, they seem to be having some reservations about his overall job performance.
Click here for the survey
The contentious negotiations between New York and Canada over the future of the Peace Bridge in Buffalo took a turn when both the State Senate and the Assembly overwhelmingly approved dissolving the Peace Bridge Authority Wednesday. The vote immediately put to a halt $150 million in Peace bridge projects, according to authority General Manager, Ron Rienas, a Canadian.
The dispute between the two sides is over efforts to expand the plaza on the New York side of the bridge.