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Hearing examines impact of economic development in New York State

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Cuomo is proposing to invest more than $1 billion for economic development this year. With the money pouring in, how many jobs will these projects bring? New York State lawmakers held a hearing Monday to examine whether the money the state has already invested in economic development is really growing the economy.

“A company in Rochester initially was called Ava Gene. That very company left and restarted as Next Gen, which is the company that we are now going to give another 15 million dollars to in Syracuse,” said Senator Rich Funke (R-Rochester).

Next Gen is one of many companies some lawmakers say failed to deliver on their promises of job creation in upstate New York. Nano tried to bring high tech jobs, but instead, a mostly empty building sits in Utica.

This year, the governor wants to continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that can not necessarily guarantee that they can deliver on their promises.

“It’s a terrible investment,” said Senator Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady). “We need a commitment from these companies. They have to show realistically that they have plan to do that. I think we’re just helter skelter right now throwing money at projects.”

One way legislators are talking about gaining this transparency is to create clawback provisions, allowing the state to take back taxpayer money that was invested if the company fails to deliver.

“As well as not only grabbing back the taxes that were used to help this company,” said Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-Rochester). “But also a penalty which would be interest for the use of that money for a period of time.”

Assemblyman Billy Jones (R-Plattsburgh) said economic investment could be helpful.

“We should be pitching in and helping those projects come to fruition, because they do help to produce jobs, badly needed jobs that we want in the North Country,” said Assemblyman Jones. “So long as it’s a good investment.”

So how many new jobs are being created by these companies? The Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development says he will release those numbers later this week.

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