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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"An economic roller coaster"

ALBANY, Oct. 15 -- It’s a sign of the times. One news report sends out a ray of positive economic news, and then a headline the very next day arrives as yet another dark cloud on the jobs front. We’ve certainly seen and felt this economic roller coaster take its emotional and financial toll here at
home – up, down and all around for nearly four years now. And it just continues its excruciating twists and turns.

In late September we cut the ribbon on a 400-foot runway extension at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport, an extension that’s expected to deliver a welcome economic boost to the area. That same day I joined other state and local leaders at the Anchor Glass Container Corporation. We were there to celebrate the success of this 100-year-old glass container manufacturer and to also announce a ReCharge NY economic development power allocation that will help the company retain 340 jobs and reinvest $37.2 million in its Elmira Heights facility.

In other words, it was a day of good economic news for the area.

One week later, we’re hit with the unexpected announcement of the closing of the Sikorsky Military Completions Center in Big Flats and the loss of nearly 600 jobs. Devastating.

Government, by itself, can’t (and more importantly shouldn’t) determine the success or failure of the state’s economy. But there’s no question that government policies can and do have a decisive impact on the economy’s overall direction and, without question, can help improve and strengthen it. But how? That’s the question at the heart of the number-one challenge still facing Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature as we move closer to the start of a new legislative session in January 2013.

The challenge was framed even more starkly by a recent ranking of business tax climates in the 50 states.

It’s clear that the past two years in New York government have set this state in a new direction. We’ve achieved overdue and significant economic and fiscal reforms. But now an updated Tax Foundation ranking, which made headlines last week, drops New York from the 49th to the 50th ranked business tax climate in the nation. You can take this particular ranking for what it’s worth and its findings have been dissected, questioned and spun in various ways over the past several days. But I think the overriding point is well taken.

The head of the state’s largest business group, The Business Council of New York, said, “This report does not reflect the progress New York has made in its budget and tax policy over the past two years…However, this rating shows that we have significant work to do to reverse years of bad tax and spending decisions. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the state legislature in 2013 on tax and regulatory changes that help make the state’s business climate more attractive to business of all sizes and sectors.”

The Business Council response serves to highlight the key reality, in my view: The work of turning New York around is finally underway, but it remains far from finished.

The Business Council also recently released the results of a statewide survey that asked employers to share their short- and long-term economic outlooks, as well as their assessments of state government policies. The council summarized the survey’s findings this way: "Although they have dealt with a difficult recovery and a slowly improving business environment in New York, our members believe their businesses will grow and their bottom lines will improve over the next 18 months. Employers still see many places where the government can reduce the cost of doing business, but agree they will see economic progress in 2013."

There in fact are many places where New York can become more employer-friendly. Which is exactly why earlier this year the Senate advanced a comprehensive economic development plan called “New Jobs NY.” At its core, it reflects our fundamental belief in government’s ability to cut taxes and control spending as a way to strengthen the overall business climate.

Our plan wasn’t approved by the Assembly leadership, but we intend to keep at it in 2013. We have to keep acting, on a bipartisan basis, to achieve the goal of removing New York from the list of states with the worst business environments in America. New Jobs NY proposes to strengthen the state’s economic competitiveness and improve New York’s business climate through a broad strategy involving significant tax relief, much of it aimed at private-sector job creation. But the New Jobs NY plan also takes aim at the fiscal condition of state government itself. It calls for greater fiscal responsibility and spending control across state government, and it includes new regulatory reforms to cut expensive red tape for businesses. You can read more about New Jobs NY on my Senate website,

New Jobs NY stakes a claim to the direction of New York government in 2013. It offers a course of action that’s even more committed to private-sector growth, economic competitiveness, and long-term job security and stability for workers. We believe it offers a strategy, in other words, that can help get us off this economic roller coaster.

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