A key member of the Assembly leadership has endorsed The Business Council's "Upstate Agenda for Growth"-and has said the state must do even more to ensure that the upstate economy reaches its potential.
Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, an Erie County Democrat who chairs the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, said upstate needs "aggressive action to energize our economy."
Last month Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh called upon the Legislature to take specific actions that would be beneficial to the economy of upstate, which has been growing more slowly than that of the state as a whole.
The Council's "Upstate Agenda" included proposals to expand job training, reduce energy costs, cut property taxes by reducing state mandates on localities, and improve business marketing efforts.
The agenda was endorsed by a coalition of chambers of commerce and other allies; in coming months it will be expanded upon with advice from members and allied organizations.
In a December 15 letter to Governor Pataki, Schimminger said "I strongly support the Upstate Agenda."
"Restoring upstate New York's economy," he said, would be "the paramount issue facing New York State government in the coming year."
"Working in a bipartisan manner over the past four years, The Executive and the Legislature have taken significant steps to improve New York's lagging economy," Schimminger said.
"Our job growth statewide is significantly better than it was a few years ago. . . . Unfortunately, upstate is not doing nearly as well as it should."
Schimminger said key items in the Upstate Agenda already enjoy strong support in the Assembly and in the Republican-controlled Senate.
He said he would also support The Business Council's call for an expanded marketing campaign to inform potential investors about the changes in the state's business climate-but said any new state money should be split evenly between a statewide promotion, and matching funds to assist regional marketing programs.