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Big Ideas II

October 5, 2010

The two candidates running for governor in New York have offered different visions for economic development. Andrew Cuomo would create new state programs and overhaul existing programs in a host of areas: infrastructure investment; workforce training; access to capital; innovation grants; and tax credits. 

Carl Paladino would focus almost exclusively on reducing broad-based taxes that have given New York the deserved reputation as an anti-business state. 

A third vision involves identifying and investing in catalysts for economic growth. The post above describes the vision of Congressional lion Dick Gephardt for a national Semetech-like initiative for the bio-pharm industry. Bio-pharmaceuticals and renewable energy are regarded as the two sectors with the most potential, but there are certainly others. And in this regard, a third vision for economic development in New York involves identifying promising projects for each region of the state.  These projects would not always have to be technology related, but instead could try to build off of existing regional strengths.  For example: 

Rochester: Create a public-private venture with Kodak and Bausch and Lomb to develop next generation of solar cells. 

Schenectady: Create a consortium of power technology companies to refine battery technology. 

Binghamton/Newburgh: Establish a “inner ports” to alleviate intermodal train congestion in Metro New York. 

Catskills: Authorize casino resort cluster and develop high speed rail from New York City. 

Adirondacks: Promote tourism by establishing a world-class bicycle race akin to the Tour de France. 

These are just some quick proposals developed by our group. For all we know there might be a clear reason why these projects wouldn’t work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other projects that would work well. 

Our point is that the next governor ought not be too rigid on economic development. It seems to us that the best approach might be to combine elements of the Cuomo and Paladino plans, and also to develop mini-Semetechs across the state.

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