The grant announcements also offered a dose of realism from Governor Cuomo and others who say New York still has a long way to go. Nick Reisman takes a look at where things stand now and if we are seeing any impacts yet from the first round of awards.
NEW YORK STATE -- In grand award show style for the second year in a row, the state distributed $738 million in economic aid to regions of the state for economic development projects meant to kick start job growth. For Governor Andrew Cuomo, the aim is to create positive energy and belief about New York.
“It's only been two years and you can't expect the entire economy to turn around two years, but you can feel there's a different energy about New York,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo has touted New York's new business climate in a national advertising campaign highlighting niche industries like Greek yogurt and tech development in the Albany area. With a tax code overhaul and a cap on property taxes, Cuomo says things will get even better when the national economy improves.
“We've been doing all of this while the national economy basically positive but more stagnate. Wait until that national economy turns around and that national economy fills our sail,” Cuomo said.
But the state's job growth has lagged. New York's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in October and ranks 41st out of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Still, for regional officials, the tone Cuomo is setting is important.
“We wanted to change the tone about this being a high tax climate state. It's not compared to other states. We're still not where we need to be, but it certainly isn't where people think it is,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
“I think you have to be able to promote and I think the governor is a great promoter of New York State,” said State Senator Betty Little.
Larry Levy of the National Center for Suburban Studies says there is a link between job growth and economic incentives from the state.
“We spent a lot of time and money try and develop metrics to see if the infusion of cash in last year's awards actually made a difference and we found that in less than year we created over 6,000, 7,000 jobs,” Levy said.
Cuomo has said he will again focus on upstate job growth in 2013. It's a region that's had little good economic news over the last several decades of lost jobs and population, but officials are confident things will get better in time.
“It's going to take a while. I mean, we're going to be a different place certainly than we were 30 years ago. But I can show you progress,” Rochester Mayor Tom Richards said.