It was no surprise that Bill Magnarelli was “startled” by David Rubin’s blistering opinion on Syracuse.com stating New York Democratic leadership “dissed” Syracuse. Since Bill accuses David Rubin of a ‘misleading, inaccurate and distorted’ picture of Syracuse and Central New York economy, then he surely must be advising his staffers to collect data from the ‘second star on the right’.
I prefer dealing in facts and reality.
Fact 1: In 2012, New York State collected $71.5 billion in tax revenues. Remember, tax revenue is money collected from the taxpayers, not produced by government. This is our money. Should you really be impressed by the largesse of the Governor’s “gift” of our own money? Like me, I’m sure many in Central New York would prefer to keep more of their hard-earned money and decide for themselves what to develop.
While the REDC programs may work in a vacuum, the real world demands Economic Development that actually develops the economy. Government picking winners and losers with our money is like playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded chamber. The proper place to start is with long term, sustainable jobs, and not governmental trickle down. Manufacturing jobs to be specific.
Fact 2: Upstate lost 137,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000 and Syracuse has taken the biggest hit, losing at least 40% of our manufacturing jobs during the same period. These dismal job numbers grow exponentially when you consider that businesses supporting manufacturing also failed as a result. Significant job loss leads directly to another critical problem for Central New York. Our population is shrinking.
Fact 3: Syracuse is one of only 15 of the 200 largest cities in the U.S. that continues tolose population. Studies show that jobs and population are directly linked since every job gained brings 1.3 people to the area, and each innovation economy job, like manufacturing, generates another 3.5 jobs. Manufacturing jobs in Upstate New York average $55,000 a year. So stop with the hotels and stadiums already. Some might consider these endeavors admirable, but they do not deliver what Syracuse needs most, long term, sustainable economic growth.
The Biotech Accelerator at Loguen’s Crossing could be a stride in the right direction. However, the proton beam manufacturing, training and research facility is only a project under consideration, not yet a reality as Bill indicates. In fact, both the secret planning of a sports arena and the Governor’s ill-conceived START-UP NY program has actually hindered progress on this project. Private development is on hold pending release of the START-UP NY locations and even Ben Walsh, Deputy Commissioner of Syracuse’s Office of Neighborhood and Business Development, admits an adjacent stadiummay impact Loguen’s Crossing.
Bill claims we can debate economic strategies all day long, but to do so requires that he actually have a strategy for the Central New York economy and that it is measurable in the long term. A viable economic strategy has clearly defined long-term goals and priorities, not reactionary, piecemeal short term band-aids. A quality short-term act must support the long-range economic strategy. Magnarelli, Cuomo, and the Democratic machine may end up with a great big stadium and a pretty lakefront, but nobody to fill the seats or enjoy the view. The bottom line is that Syracuse is in trouble. And Bill, Syracuse is not working.
Magnarelli touts the Democrat talking point of a “lower unemployment rate” as a positive sign. However, once again his claims amount to fairytales.
Fact 4: The U.S. Department of Labor reports that in the last six months of 2013, 4,000 jobs were lost in Syracuse, yet the actual Labor Force dropped by nearly 8,000 people. With so many Syracuseans dropping out of the workforce altogether, it’s easy to see why the unemployment rate can appear positive. When the truth is revealed however, we see what many of us know from personal experience; Syracuse is bleeding jobs and residents. So, I have to ask. When 8,000 people stop looking for work or leave Syracuse altogether, how can our Assemblyman call that a success?
It’s not hard to understand why so many in Central New York are running from the Liberal whip and looking back fondly at Compassionate Conservatism. Syracuse can’t afford someone looking out for the Party line. We can do better than this Bill. We must do better.
The goal was always to provide opportunities for a better future in Syracuse. A better future for Upstate. A better future for our children and our children’s children.
A Better Future. Now.