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New York State Hopin’ For Business

Governor Cuomo is mining New York’s state budget to fund a nearly $140 million ad campaign to attract business to the Empire state. The ad campaign—entitled “New York State Open for Business”—has been funded by siphoning tens of millions of dollars from the state’s Power Authority and Energy Research and Development Authority, and another $40 million from the federal aid package the state received to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. The New York Times reports:

Much of the money spent has been used to buy television ads, half of which are being broadcast outside New York, celebrating the state’s economic success stories as part of an effort to lure and keep business here. […]

In a presentation to Empire State Development’s board in 2011, [Harvey Cohen, adman for former governor Mario Cuomo] described the campaign as confronting “a classic marketing problem.” He said consultants who helped businesses relocate had misconceptions about New York.

“Yes they knew high taxes, yes they knew regulations, yes they knew right to work, but interestingly, they would tell me that many companies don’t even know that upstate New York exists,” he said, adding, “They certainly don’t know the new attitude brought in by the new administration.”

“New attitudes” aside, redirecting funds from energy R&D and the state’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy for a marketing campaign doesn’t sound smart. High taxes and burdensome regulations can’t be waved away with attitudes and advertisements.

Here are some suggestions about how to attract business to New York state: hire some non-partisan outsiders to go through the state government and prune all excess positions, cushy patronage slots, pointless paid advisory boards and the like. Get another team to do a soup to nuts review of the state’s laws and regulations, targeting duplication, excess, and so forth. Eliminate all sweetheart special tax deals and preferences.

Then cut state income and business taxes as far as possible due to the savings. Check the business climate rankings by various groups and make all the reforms necessary to move New York dramatically closer to the top. Open the door for fracking.

And don’t waste a single nickel on promotional ads featuring Robert De Niro and the musical stylings of Jay-Z.

You can’t make major changes like these in a state like New York without attracting lots of free attention and publicity. Do the job well and you won’t have to spend a penny on publicity. If New York state became a genuine leader in business-friendly reform, headlines everywhere would blare the news out for free. Every sentient business leader in America would know that New York state was open for business again.

Sadly, that’s unlikely to happen. New York’s politicians are addicted to a system of crony capitalism, sweetheart deals and a regulatory environment that hurts New York City even as it squeezes the life out of the struggling cities upstate.

[Governor Andrew Cuomo image courtesy of Wikimedia]

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  • Corlyss Drinkard
  • USNK2

    $140 million? I see the NY business ads, but had no idea the budget was that big.
    Meanwhile, Texas has a $12BIL surplus from their fracking revolution as noted in a Forbes article linked from RealClearEnergy, which notes that Andrew has fallen into the “more study” trap.
    New York is doomed.

  • Kelly Hall

    I saw the commercial, and was unconvinced. Just a bit of feel-good propaganda, with old tired saws like tax-free zones (where businesses stay until the tax-exempt status expires). Any business leader who knows anything about NY politics cannot possibly think that the leopard has suddenly changed its spots. Proclaiming NY as business-friendly would be a hard enough sell under Pataki, much less the doctrinaire Democrat princeling Cuomo.

  • Southwestern SongDog

    When you see a politician of the leftist persuasion voluntarily relinquish power or control over something, prepare for the Rapture.

    Actually, NY state went through this once before, in the eighties, when everybody was bailing out on them at that time. Then it had to do with excessive environmental regulations. Alas the reforms, such as they were, only lasted until business turned up, which set off another round of business as usual for the government. I wouldn’t trust them not to do it again and you will be trapped if you move your business to NY state.

  • teapartydoc

    Granholm II.

  • Rules4Radicals

    Cuomo is the most over-rated fraud in America, beginning with his horrific (and covered up) tenure as HUD director under Clinton, where he single handedly created the subsequent Housing Collapse.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Ultimately though it’s the voters who are addicted to crony based government. These guys win elections over and over, beyond the margin of fraud.

    • Marty Keller

      That, sir, is the basic fact of our perilous political economic system. Any efforts to inspire improvement without taking this head-on are doomed.

  • Alarms & Discursions

    I live in NY, and seriously, no business that would see one of Cuomo’s ads and think, “gee, they’ve really changed, so maybe I will move my business there,” would be the kind of business that would survive anyway. Any moderately intelligent businessperson seriously considering a move to NY state would discover very quickly that we rank dead last among all 50 states for economic freedom. Plus, we kinda hate successful people and want them to pay our way — just look at our votes. But on the upside, our property taxes are insanely high, as are our sales tax and income tax. Cuomo will tell you that cutting the growth rate of property taxes makes NY good for business, which is like saying your daily beatings will only get worse, but at a slower pace of increased savagery.

    • ChuckFinley

      Actually, I think that “dead last among all 50 states for economic freedom” is another title that New York has lost to California. However, I don’t think that TV ads boasting, “California is even worse!” are going to bring a lot of business into New York.

  • cubanbob

    For the ads to be credible two impossible things would have to happen:

    1-A state right to work act.
    2-The mass resignation of every elected democrat.

    Until then its just another waste of money unless its just intended to give work to NYC ad agencies.

  • Buckland

    Unfortunately you miss the intended audience of the ads. They’re not meant for businesses around the country. They’re meant for primary voters in the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primaries. It’s a way to introduce Cuomo the world as a tough, business savvy Democrat. At taxpayers expense.

    Good luck with that.

    • Rules4Radicals

      I think you are on to something.
      Long suffering NY small businesses laugh at Cuomo’s preposterous ads.

      Any NY big business is reduced to crooked crony capitalism: sending cash “contributions” to democrats in return for tax breaks needed to stay in business.

      The brain dead low information national democrat base is the target audience for this ridiculous propaganda.

  • ChuckFinley

    The calls to eliminate patronage jobs, end sweetheart deals and favors for cronies are a complete non starter in New York.

    What they might conceivably do might be to ask businesses which are the most obnoxious regulations that New York State imposes on anybody trying to operate within their borders and see what can be done to scale them back a bit. It’s not enough to bring in new companies but it might slow down the race to the exits by the companies that are still there.

  • paddylenihan

    Hopefully someone will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about NY’s false and fraudulent advertising.

  • Edward Burghard

    This is a disappointing waste of money. NYS has some of the world’s best branding Agencies. It is a shame they weren’t leveraged to better define the brand promise and create a mind jd heart opening campaign to bring that promise to life. To learn how to brand a state, visit the website. The folly of this campaign will become evident.

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