The party rank and file lined up behind incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo at the New York State Democratic Convention last week. Cuomo, in an apparent bid to woo voters in western New York, named Kathy Hochul, a former congresswoman from Buffalo, to be his running mate. His choice was not all that surprising, given that a stark gap in economic performance between struggling upstate and still-prosperous downstate stubbornly persists. Have a look at the figures:
…according to the state Labor Department, the number of private-sector jobs grew 2.6 percent over the past year in the 10-county downstate area, while in the 52-county upstate region, it was just 0.6 percent.
Ouch. The high costs, tight regulations, and heavy tax structures imposed by New York City are strangling upstate, which badly needs a cheaper, lighter governing model.All of this is of course equally bad for the middle class in New York City itself, but Wall Street’s massive island of prosperity masks this reality in an increasingly stratified city and state. Wall Street is a bit like Hollywood and Silicon Valley in California—an industry that can survive in a heavy blue environment but that ultimately produces high inequality and can’t provide the broad based prosperity a big state needs.