Also in the news today is the story of Carl Paladino's suggestion that the Partnership is ineffective and his demand for leadership change. This debate will likely be held at the 20,000-foot level on the front page of the newspaper, so I'm not going to delve into it here, where we talk about issues. It did raise an interesting thought, though... It is very interesting how much of the work we do at the Partnership - and as Policy Director, I see it every day - never makes it into the mainstream media simply because we've been successful in squashing it. There are no less than 20 pieces of legislation I personally am tracking (and my colleagues are tracking others) and having discussions about with people across the state that I hope never see the light of day because they're that bad for the Upstate economy. So, it's easy to get emotional about your organization being called "ineffective," but I take pride in the fact that if my colleagues and I were not making arguments and engaging in debate in "big picture" issues like wage mandates on private businesses, elimination of secret ballot in union organization efforts and mandatory health insurance regardless of the cost, the likelihood of seeing those happen would be much, much greater. And that doesn't even touch upon our Buffalo Niagara 360 program, business-to-business networking facilitation and employer retention program.
That all being said - we'll let that argument take its course and get back to business. Despite the uncertainty in the State Senate, we continue to push for targeted legislation to move forward by the "end" of session, whenever that might be. Obviously, getting the Assembly to pass the UB2020 legislation is our top priority, and we are working very hard to quell any downstate concerns - mostly related to "what do I get out of this?" The way we see it, UB2020 is a pilot - and a great target for trying out this flexibility because our region and UB already have a plan. It's a very aggressive economic development plan that will reshape our region. If it works, we'll certainly be 100% supportive of giving other SUNY institutions across the state that same support as they develop their own plans.
Some other things we're keeping alive as the Senate figures out what it's going to do:
- Tax increment financing (TIF) legislation to encourage brownfield redevelopment
- Historic Preservation Tax Credit legislation (see the Partnership's letter of support)
- Extension of IDA civic facilities (without wage mandates)
- Opposition to a number of defensive issues including expansion of unemployment benefits, expansion of FMLA, and the Hoyt/Thompson IDA "reform" bill
I told you - lots going on. Have a great weekend!