Executive Fiala Addresses State Legislators in Albany


Requests Budgetary Support for Economic Development and the Empire Zone Program

Click HERE to watch the County Executive's testimony


(BINGHAMTON, NY) Today, Barbara J. Fiala, Broome County Executive and President of the New York State Association of County Executives, testified in Albany before state lawmakers requesting support of economic development programs specifically, the Empire Zone Program in the 2009-’10 state budget. The current proposed budget by Governor David Paterson includes significant reforms of the Empire Zone Program.

Executive Fiala spoke before state lawmakers acknowledging the state’s current fiscal challenges and the need for county leaders to work in partnership with state leaders on effective solutions. However, Fiala cautioned lawmakers of the negative impact New York State companies could face as a result of decreased economic development funds.

“Empire Zone incentive programs have allowed our community to save literally thousands of jobs from disappearing,” said Executive Fiala. “Our only true recovery strategy going forward is investment in our companies and in our people.  We need to be competitive in economic development or our problems in New York will never get better, they will only get worse.”

 She noted several local companies that have grown in the Southern Tier in part due to the economic incentives provided through the Empire Zone program. “From Endicott Interconnect Technologies and the Huron Real Estate Associates which alone have revived a former IBM campus in Endicott, NY into a thriving microelectronics operation and real estate venture which has preserved and created nearly five thousand jobs.  Additionally, Willow Run Foods has leveraged Empire Zone benefits to create hundreds of new jobs and was able to solidify its operation in Greater Binghamton; all while being heavily courted to move to Pennsylvania.”

Fiala was also joined by Stephen J. Acquario, the Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties to draw lawmaker’s attention to the possible consequences of shrinking the Empire Zone program. 

Executive Fiala testified that increasing the cost benefit ration used by the empire Zone Program to determine eligibility to 20-1 without exemptions will have devastating results for communities across New York State.

01/22/2009 - 5:44pm