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NYS Exposed: Why do all the state government depts. & agencies have to be centralized in Albany?

February 16, 2018 06:56 PM

Why do all the state government departments and agencies have to be centralized in Albany? 
 
The idea here is take those departments or agencies and headquarter them in a different upstate city. On Friday, News10NBC asked the man in charge of creating new jobs why can't we do this? 

We're paying for those jobs and those services anyway. So why not headquarter the Department of Education in Rochester? Why not headquarter the Department of Health in Buffalo? 

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That's the idea.
Take some state departments like Health (3,436 employees), Education (2,644 employees), Transportation (8,523 employees), Environmental Conservation (2,945 employees), Agriculture and Markets (483 employees) and Labor (2,990 employees) and headquarter them in upstate cities. 

Overnight, you’d add good paying, pension-backed, taxpayer-funded jobs in these cities. 

Brean: “Let's talk low tech.”
Howard Zemsky, CEO Empire State Development: “Ok.”
 
On Friday, Berkeley Brean took the idea to Howard Zemsky, the CEO of Empire State Development. He heads the state agency that is trying to boost high-tech jobs and companies in New York State.

Brean: “This idea of taking state agencies and departments and instead of having them all crammed together in Albany move them to different upstate cities. We've got the space, we've had population loss.” 
Zemsky: "You know the interesting thing about Albany? The economy has grown there not because of growth in government."
 
Zemsky says it's because of high-tech start-ups connected to universities like RPI and SUNY Poly. The fact is Albany is doing better than other major upstate cities. 

These are the median family incomes for greater upstate New York cities:

Rochester: $67,000
Buffalo: $65,000
Syracuse:  $67,000
Utica: $60,000
Binghamton: $30,000
Watertown: $41,000
Albany: $79,000

These are the average home values for the counties of major upstate cities: 

Rochester: $69,000
   Monroe Co.: $135,000
Buffalo: $94,000
   Erie Co.: $167,000
Syracuse: $82,000
   Onondaga Co.: $130,000
Utica: $101,000
    Oneida Co.: $112,000
Binghamton: $119,000
   Broome Co.: $98,000
Watertown: $129,000
   Jefferson Co.: $138,000

Albany: $165,000
   Albany Co: $208,000

Albany values are $73,000 more than Monroe County. 

Here are the December unemployment levels from the New York Department of Labor:

Rochester: 5.0
Buffalo-Niagara Falls: 5.5
Syracuse: 5.1
Binghamton: 5.5
Watertown: 7.2

Albany-Schenectady-Troy: 4.2

Albany is better. 

Brean: “The idea isn't that we create more government jobs. You just take the ones already existing and headquarter them in different upstate cities.” 
Howard Zemsky, CEO Empire State Development: “You know honestly, I'm head of economic development for this state. We're focused on private sector jobs. We really measure success based on private sector jobs. We do not measure success based on government jobs.”

Zemsky said Rochester is the "capitol of innovation" in New York State leads the state in patents.
 
In the latest private sector jobs report from the state in January, Rochester lost 2,800 jobs last year. Buffalo lost 4,900. 
 

Credits

Berkeley Brean

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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