New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo initiated a contest for funding, which he believed would fuel competition and bipartisan plans to improve areas economically throughout the state. His plan, which has been widely dubbed the “Gov. Cuomo’s Hunger Games” split the state into seven competing districts with the end goal being the creation of a series of blueprints around the state to fund development projects.
— Joseph Spector (@GannettAlbany) December 10, 2015
The Upstate Revitalization Initiative, or Gov. Cuomo’s Hunger Games will award $500 million of additional funding for development in upstate New York over the next five years. This will come on top of the $750 million in regular economic funding from the REDC. The focus is high-tech industry, and economic development that can be spurred and carried throughout the next several decades. The regions include, Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Capital Region, the mid-Hudson Valley, and the North Country. It had been pointed out previously that Buffalo was not eligible for the extra award after the ‘Buffalo Billion’ initiative that Gov. Cuomo initiated earlier. The Finger Lakes plan for economic development has been widely regarded as one of the best plans, but the words from leaders in the region has reaffirmed the fact that there is a serious discrepancy in the overall funding in upstate New York.The three winners were the Finger Lakes, central New York, and the southern tier, and each will receive the $500 million in development funding over the next five years. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb released a statement following the win for the Finger Lakes region, and upstate New York as a whole – but his statement reiterated the need for greater funding for upstate New York that doesn’t include upstate regions battling each other over potential funding.Kolb’s statement read:“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the Finger Lakes Region. Important local projects will receive needed funding, with the goal of bolstering our region’s economy. I congratulate those who have worked hard to prepare this winning proposal. However, a grant program that pits upstate regions against each other is not a catalyst for sustained revitalization. Regional “winners” are hand-picked by the governor, and as a recent report points out there is little evidence to show that lofty job-creation promises have been kept. Fair and equitable investment is critical across New York State. But true economic development must come in the form of lowering taxes and fees on job-creators, reducing onerous regulations, and helping the thousands of small businesses that will never see a nickel from programs like the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.” Follow FingerLakes1.com for the latest updates to this story, and stay tuned for updates following a press conference being held at 2:30 pm in Canandaigua regarding more funding from New York state in the upstate region to bring updates and upgrades to failing infrastructure. An update will also be given during Thursday afternoon’s live edition of Inside the FLX.– Report by Josh Durso for FingerLakes1.com