Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 6, 2014

CITY DESK: We're being left behind

Niagara Gazette — They’re leaving.

But then, we know that already.

Known for years.

By “they,” I mean the working-age folks who formerly resided in Western and Upstate New York. 

Don’t take my word for it. The Associated Press documented the latest example of people drain in a story last week that, in part, told the tale of a young couple formerly of Amherst who packed up and moved out to sunny San Diego because, as the 25-year-old female, Melissa Grothues, put it: “We were ready for a bigger city and to move on. There just weren’t many opportunities in Buffalo.”

Ouch. Not exactly fodder for the local chambers of commerce.

While those of us diehards around here can honestly say there have been signs of improvement of late in places like Buffalo — the new-look waterfront included — we also completely understand when we read about those in the ripe working ages of 20 to 45 who have shuffled off to warmer confines to find better opportunities and places to work. 

The same AP story highlighted the disconcerting projections that New York will soon be surpassed by Florida as American’s third most populous state. 

Outside of New York City, the Empire State, despite all the statements to the contrary by its area politicians, isn’t growing. 

Those who analyzed the trend said New York’s high taxes, lack of job opportunities and, yes, the weather (see this past weekend) rank highest on the list of reasons for the exodus. 

Again, valid points all. 

There’s a greater problem around here though and it involves a ruling political class that still just doesn’t get it. 

In the weeks and months ahead, this newspaper and the members of its staff will be bombarded with statements from elected officials who will continue to insist that the tax-break deals and business incentive programs and other forms of assistance they’ve been offering to companies large and small for years will help achieve the ultimate goal of providing good jobs for regular people so they can afford to buy homes in the area and spur the local economy. 

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