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The Dansville Online
  • Sen. Tom O'Mara: The job beat goes on

  • This year’s budget was enacted on March 30 and, since then, the short-term message has been delivered pretty convincingly: New York government is serious about doing what it takes to get this state back to work. There’s no question that job creation is the focus of and the driving force behind this year’s budget.

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  • “Today’s budget agreement is another clear signal that it is not business as usual in Albany. There is a commitment to promoting private-sector job growth and unlocking New York State’s true economic potential.”
    Those were the words of Brian Sampson of Unshackle Upstate, a leading upstate New York advocacy group, assessing the end-of-March agreement on the final 2012-2013 New York State budget. This year’s budget was enacted on March 30 and, since then, the short-term message has been delivered pretty convincingly: New York government is serious about doing what it takes to get this state back to work. There’s no question that job creation is the focus of and the driving force behind this year’s budget.
    It’s underway in earnest in many ways and many places following a rapid series of post-budget announcements of additional and accelerated investments through the “New York Works” initiative, one of this budget’s cornerstones. Over the course of three days during the first week in April, plans were announced for:
    • 32 “New York Works” projects to repair 155 miles of roads and 23 bridges in the Southern Tier, as well as 227 miles of roads and 10 bridges around the Finger Lakes region.
    • Upgrading and repairing state parks and historic sites throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, and statewide, as part of an unprecedented effort to enhance New York’s parks system.
    • Upgrading dams and flood control systems in communities locally and statewide.
    New York Works will make a difference across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. Same goes for all of upstate. This revitalized effort to rebuild roads and bridges, state parks and local flood control infrastructure, will create jobs and strengthen many communities. The New York Works initiative establishes a stronger state commitment to upstate job creation and economic growth. It will play a key role in turning around the fortunes of upstate New York manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and every other sector of the economy. In short, there’s a renewed commitment and a newfound sense of urgency to do what it takes to jump-start this turnaround. And that’s because there’s finally a widespread belief that until we unlock this state’s true economic potential, we will never be able to fully address our other fundamental challenges or priorities.
    It also can’t be overlooked that this year’s budget includes a second round of funding for the economic development blueprints developed last year by New York’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, including the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes councils. That’s important because it means that these ambitious local job creation blueprints remain in play, as they should be. They’re the product of a lot of hard work by a region-wide team of business, community and economic development leaders who will continue to help guide our success not just in this state-level competition for economic development resources, but in the global competition for jobs.
    Page 2 of 2 - Most of the counties in my 53rd Senate District – Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Tompkins – fall under the Southern Tier Regional Council. The district’s remaining county, Yates, is part of the Finger Lakes Regional Council. The plans for each region can still be found on www.nyworks.ny.gov. While these two regional councils bisect the actual Finger Lakes, north and south, I will work to see that projects that benefit the Finger Lakes as a whole will be coordinated between the two councils.
    Our work is just beginning. Earlier this year the Senate put forth a plan called “New Jobs-NY” that proposes even more aggressive steps to strengthen the state’s economic competitiveness and improve New York’s business climate through a broad strategy involving significant tax relief, much of it aimed at private-sector job creation, and fiscal responsibility and spending control across state government – including a 2% cap on future state spending growth. Read more about New Jobs-NY on my website, www.omara.nysenate.gov.
    So in the aftermath of the adoption of this year’s state budget, there’s a lot going on. In the words of Unshackle Upstate and others, it’s about unlocking New York’s true economic potential. It couldn’t be timelier and, thankfully, it’s a long way from business as usual.