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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"Time to stand out"

ALBANY, Aug. 1 -- Here we go. And the timing couldn’t be better, arriving as it does on the heels of:

-- last week’s reports of more local job losses and rising unemployment rates; and

-- a new analysis from the Council of State Taxation (COST),, showing New York with the worst property tax system in America.

So when New York’s 10 regional economic development councils, groups that will largely determine the immediate future of state economic development assistance, began to be unveiled early last week, here’s what I said: “We’ll all be working closely together to do anything and everything possible to ensure that our region stands out in this competition for the state resources that can help create jobs and other economic opportunities for our employers, and our region’s workers and their families.”

That’s right, rising out of all the dire economic news dominating the daily headlines comes this chance for regional leaders across New York, including ours, to stand up and do something positive. These new councils, established as part of this year’s state budget, were being announced one by one across the state by Governor Andrew Cuomo beginning last Tuesday. According to the governor, they “represent a fundamental change in the state's approach to economic development, empowering specific areas… to better support job creation and send a clear message that New York is once again open for business.”

In short, it’s up to us, and in my view, that’s really good news. Because we’ve done it before. I fully expect that a region-wide team of business, community and economic development leaders will once again help the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions succeed in this new state-level
competition for economic development resources. They will develop local strategies that will compete for upwards of $1 billion in state economic development assistance.

The councils will also offer up concrete solutions to New York’s overburdened business climate to make it more competitive. The Legislature must act on these recommendations and get out of the way of business growth in New York. The success of our state economy truly rides on making New York more competitive with surrounding states. A billion dollars in incentives is a nice short-term assist, but won’t solve long-term needs.

Most of the counties in my 53rd Senate District – Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Tompkins – fall under the Southern Tier Regional Council. The district’s remaining county, Yates, is part of the Finger Lakes Regional Council. Find more detailed information on the following “Open for
Business” website: The
site includes a Regional Council Guidebook providing more detailed information on the overall effort, as well as a place to submit suggestions online.

One of our region’s strongest assets has always been a first-class corps of economic development experts who, year in and year out, have consistently done outstanding work to help Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Yates counties join the fierce competition for jobs and other
economic opportunities. But the economic climate has never been tougher and now we have to raise the bar even higher to help our region stand out in this new state-level competition to build a better business climate.

I’m confident we will. We must.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869