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Gillibrand, Katko push legislation to aid manufacturing in central NY

Ellen Abbott
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tours Feldmeier Equipment in Syracuse.

A Democratic senator and Republican congressman in central New York stood at the same podium this week, pushing a bi-partisan effort to help create more manufacturing jobs.

Feldmeier Equipment in Syracuse is a company that could use a hand. The firm that makes equipment for a wide range of industries, from pharmaceuticals to breweries, wants to stay in Central New York. But Vice President Dave Pollack admits it’s a challenge running a business in one of the highest taxed states in the nation.

"We need to continue to grow the business, but we’re doing it in New York, so we need some help," Pollack said.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo
WRVO News file photo
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), left, and Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) speak at Feldmeier Equipment in DeWitt Monday.

That’s where Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said the feds could step in. She is sponsoring legislation that would create a permanent program that designates local regions as “manufacturing communities.”  That would allow businesses to become eligible for federal grants from a $1 billion fund. She said that’s the kind of thing that can offset high taxes.

"If you are a high-cost state like New York, you have to be able to access more capital to make up for that," Gillibrand said. "So, if you can get lower cost capitol, like a federal grant, it’s hugely important."

The democrat is optimistic this legislation, which is based on a law that is sun setting soon, will go forward because it has Republican and Democratic supporters - among them republican central New York Congressman John Katko (R-Camillus).

"We need to work together and we should work together, and we do," Katko said. "And, that’s what we’re supposed to do. Parties shouldn’t mean that you don’t work together. If you are gonna get stuff done in Congress, you have to reach across the aisle, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.