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Politics and Government

NY comptroller report shows economic highs and lows in central NY

Tom Magnarelli
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Wednesday.

The central New York economy is the focus of a new report by the state comptroller’s office. An analysis of how the region has recovered since the recession shows some improvements but also many challenges.

All five counties in the central New York region are below the state’s median household income. The regional unemployment rate is higher the state average. And the child poverty rate in Syracuse and Fulton are significantly higher than the state average. The region includes Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, Cortland and Madison Counties.

But New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said there are bright spots.

"This region benefits from a wealth of locally educated young adults, a technically experienced workforce and a comparably low cost of living,” DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli said although manufacturing in the region has declined by nearly 20,000 jobs in the past 25 years, certain segments are improving.

“Electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing grew by 46 percent between 2009-2014,” DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli said food manufacturing is projected to grow and the region’s geographic location makes sense for truck transport, warehousing facilities and distribution centers.

And while Gov. Andrew Cuomo has focused on investing upstate, DiNapoli has been critical of some of the governor’s economic development programs issuing audits on some of them.

“We’re not suggesting that the state shouldn’t be focused on economic development, what we’re saying is when the state has programs and we’re pumping a lot of money out, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask the question, are we getting the return that is expected?" DiNapoli asked. "Are the taxpayers getting the bang for their buck?”

The report does highlight the tax-incentives given by industrial development agencies and the state’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative as business drivers for the region.