Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 6, 2013

Empire State Development head goes over Cuomo's budget at John Duke Center

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Hoyt said employment figures show upstate continues to lag in terms of job growth. The region, he said, currently has a 5 percent rate of job growth compared to 11 percent statewide, 16 percent in New York City. 

"We've got to do much better on upstate numbers," Hoyt said. 

Part of Cuomo's economic agenda for 2013 involves the development of new so-called "Innovative Hot Spots." Hoyt said Cuomo's plan envisions 10 total "hot spots" in regions across the state, including one in Western New York. The incentive areas would support industries working on research that could lead to promising advancements in areas like health care or technology. Entities located inside the zones would be eligible for tax breaks, business assistance services and a portion of a $50 million pool of government venture funds.

Hoyt said the idea is to generate more research and development successes in the private sector, noting that while New York spends the second most in the nation on research projects, only 4 percent of the nation's venture capital is being captured here. 

Cuomo's agenda also calls for better correlation between available jobs in New York and the type of education and training being offered to New Yorkers. Hoyt said the state currently has 210,000 positions available through its statewide job bank in large part because companies offering them struggle to find residents capable of handling the work involved.

"There can't be a disconnect between what they are teaching at the colleges and the jobs that are available in the region," Hoyt said.

On the topic of education, Hoyt said Cuomo is committed to creating a "world-class" system in New York, noting that the governor's spending plan calls for an $889 million, or 4.4 percent, increase in school funding. To go with that, Hoyt noted that the administration has pushed for "performance-based" measures in schools, including a teacher evaluation system, and is now looking to increase the length of the school year.

"We can't just continue to gh at the problem and expect better results," Hoyt said. 

Big Red number 5 Percentage job growth in upstate New York, compared to 11 percent statewide

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