Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the North Country last week, pushing his message that New York state has to undergo a profound economic transition.
In the future, Cuomo argues, we will rely less on government jobs and more on innovative, high-tech businesses.
To that end, he wants to create ten economic development councils that will work in tailored, targeted ways to attract and retain employers.
In his state of the state address, Cuomo argued that old economic development approaches simply weren’t working.
“We spend about $1.6 billion per year in economic development and we are number 50 in terms of results,” he argued.
Obviously, the new administration would like to have more time to put its new policies and programs in place, but in government you’re not always allowed the luxury of time.
Right now, Gov. Cuomo faces the loss of the Adirondack Park’s most innovative, high-tech, forward-looking private employer.
The Trudeau Institute is exactly the kind of biotech firm that New York state — and Upstate in particular — can no longer afford to see depart.
But right now, New York state is being outhustled by other economic development teams, in North Carolina and apparently also in Florida.
According to Chris Knight’s latest report, Gov. Cuomo has reached out personally to the head of Trudeau Institute’s board of directors. That’s a good start.
But it appears that our competitors in other states are offering more tangible incentives, which Trudeau will be hard-pressed to turn down.
It’s time for Team Cuomo to spring into action, organizing the kind of targeted, focused task force that can get New York state back in the game of saving this company.
This task force should report back directly to the second floor in Albany and its leader should be given the directive that this is a symbolic fight, a line in the sand.
If we win, by anchoring Trudeau here and making it even stronger, the victory will mark one early sign of New York’s turnaround and a sign that the Cuomo administration can move with agility, and mobilize effectively.
But the ramifications of losing Trudeau will be severe, in real terms and in the message it will send about our ability to turn the corner.
Saranac Lake is the largest, most economically diverse community in the Adirondack Park, and a rare success story in the region.
If Trudeau closes its doors, or shifts a substantial amount of its operations elsewhere, the hole that is New York’s economy will be that much deeper and that much harder to crawl out of.