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Upstate Job Stagnation
A Ghost at the New York State Democratic Convention

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.

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  • dubiyarden

    New York needs a two-state solution . . .

    • Corlyss

      Agreed. Except for the fact that it would go even harder on the upstate folks, they should secede from NYC, the vestigial appendage that wags the state politically and financially. NYC ought to be its own state. Poor upstaters have been languishing for going on 30 years now. My partner on that BBS we own together is from southern NY and he has dozens of tales of failed businesses and equally failed promises, starting with the Clintons’ promises to do something for the region even before Her Nibs decided to be a carpetbagger.

    • El Gringo

      I’m sure voters from both the City and Upstate would support that. At least until the Upstate voters saw how much tax revenue would be lost.

  • DirtyJobsGuy

    See Fred Dicker’s column in the NY Post today about how another trust fund baby is angling to knock off Cuomo’s Lt Gov choice in favor of himself as a progressive. NY’s absurd minor party racket (Conservative, Independent, Liberal, WFP etc.) can make this chaos. Upstate is a true disaster area (and for that matter, downstate is not red hot either). Just yesterday there was a story on how many financial services jobs are still lost in NYC compared to 2008. They are never coming back. (Oh by the way part of this is that it costs NYC $450/ton to dispose of its garbage (twice what private haulers charge) and $630/ton for recyclables)

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