ALBANY — Business and government leaders in upstate New York should form a closer partnership to keep jobs and people from leaving the state. In an address last week at the annual meeting of the Metropolitan Development Association in Syracuse, Gov. David A. Paterson said state government has not done its share.
The governor noted that job growth across the nation during the last decade has been 9 percent. But upstate New York, he said, has struggled with 2 percent job growth.
"Why are so many of our young people still moving away?" the governor asked. "Why are so many of our cities still in crisis? The basic question I ask myself as governor is this: why does it seem like so many of the ideas are created here, but so many of the jobs are created elsewhere? I believe the answer is that in New York, there has been a missing partner — and that missing partner has been state government."
To create a more conducive climate for business, the governor said New York must make doing business in the state cheaper by investing in infrastructure and reducing high energy and health care costs.
"If we are going to compete in the innovation economy, government can be a missing partner no more," Gov. Paterson said. "Rather, we need to build a true partnership for growth between the state and our business community. Our role in this partnership will be first, to give you the tools you need to grow your business; and second, to make upstate more competitive by lowering the cost of doing business. If we work together, our partnership can unlock upstate's potential and bring lasting growth to every corner of our state."
State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, praised Gov. Paterson's emphasis on the upstate economy.
"The governor is very focused on upstate issues," Sen. Aubertine said. "He is very upbeat about what he plans to do for the region, knocking down this ridiculous idea that upstate competes with downstate."
In his remarks, Irwin L. Davis, MDA's president and CEO, was upbeat on the future and diversity of the upstate economy. He spoke of the strength of MDA's members, including some from the north country, working together in the face of economic challenges facing the region.
"From our newest member, Fused Solutions in Potsdam, to our long-established members like National Grid, to our globally-recognized health and educational institutions, our members are the driving force behind our efforts," Mr. Davis said. "It is our members who support and collaborate with our institutions of higher education every day — from the outstanding curriculum offerings at OCC to the groundbreaking research labs of Clarkson and Cornell."
Mr. Davis also praised the governor's commitment to revitalizing the upstate economy and said the MDA looks forward to working with him to "promote growth in our region in the years ahead."
For his part, Gov. Paterson reiterated his commitment to belt-tightening and fiscal prudence.
"Our economy is still reeling," the governor said. "When this storm hits, we can't simply do what Albany usually does: turn around and tax the first business or the first resident we see. Rather, we have to cut wasteful spending."