Southern Tier deserves to win state's $500M prize

Published on: October 26, 2015

Thousands of jobs. Perhaps 10,000 or more.

A half-billion dollars for economic development.

A diverse, yet focused, strategy aimed at businesses showing the greatest promise.

The potential to have an overall economic impact of more than $3.4 billion in the next five years.

All of this could begin to come to pass in December if the state selects the Southern Tier as one of the three winning regions to evenly divide the $1.5 billion targeted to grow the economy.

Our region deserves to win, for several reasons.

The greatest reason is that we, more than other regions, are in the greatest need of this assistance from the state to get a severely lagging economy going again. We cannot do it alone, with no seed money.

Another big reason: Our Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council — led by Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and Corning Enterprises President Tom Tranter — has put together a strong, well-thought-out plan to spend the $500 million.

And it’s no wonder the plan is a solid one.

From Lourdes Hospital to Raymond Corp. From Lockheed Martin to Lin Industries. Lawmakers and government leaders across the region, including Steuben, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Schuyler, Delaware, Tompkins and Chenango counties. They all sit on the council and had varying roles in the plan, which was presented to the state last week in competition with other regions’ plans.

In challenging local business and government leaders across the state to come up with strategies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they are the ones who know their economies the best.

This group of individuals does know our economy. They know the jobs that must be done. They have spent great time and thought in devising the plan, which can be seen at http://on.ny.gov/1jWDdmE.

With such a solid revitalization plan coupled with our dire need for economic relief, something will be seriously wrong if this region does not get $500 million.

A double thumbs-up to Stenger, Tranter and their team for pulling together such a creative, innovative plan.

As we’ve said before, we need to move fast and effectively to build a Southern Tier economy that gives a good job to everyone willing to work. We need to halt the population decline and out-migration of our college graduates.

We all should be on the edge of our seats in December, awaiting this important announcement from the state.

Via Press & Sun Bulletin (www.pressconnects.com), October 25, 2015. 

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