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Excellus raises rates, Canajoharie manufacturer rallies

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Wrapping up a broken leg is about to get a little pricier for Excellus customers.

Health insurance rates will rise for some Excellus BlueCross BlueShield subscribers, reports James T. Mulder at the Post-Standard.  The insurer has applied to state regulators to boost rates as much as 19.5 percent:

The company said the proposed rates changes vary by product type. The changes, which would take effect Jan. 1, apply to community-rated plans that charge everyone the same premium for the same coverage, regardless of age or health. Excellus has about 700,000 members in Central New York. The proposed changes would affect about 75,000 of them.

At the Observer-Dispatch, Bryan Ackerman has a profile of Canajoharie's top employer, Richardson Brands:

“Certainly, when you become the largest employer in town, there’s a social burden that’s put on your shoulders,” said Don Butte, Richardson Brands chief executive officer. “The best benefit we can bring to the village is to bring growth in employment.” After adding about 70 jobs in the past year, Richardson now has about 215 employees in Canajoharie – up from about 100 in 2006, Butte said. The plan is to keep growing until the facility maxes out at about 300 employees, he said.

Binghamton's airport pumped more than $52 million into the regional economy in 2009, according to a new report from the state Department of Transportation.  Jennifer Fusco at the Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that Binghamton ranked in the middle of the pack for New York's airports [PDF] - but that those numbers might merit some skepticism:

In a lot of cases, projections of job creation look only at a gross number and not a net number that reflects the cost of creating those jobs, said Rick Geddes, professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. "It's not to say the numbers are terrible or anything like that. It's just that anytime you see these projections, you have to be careful about interpreting them and about precisely what they might mean, particularly if they seem really high," Geddes said. "It's up to the reader to understand exactly what numbers you're looking at and what they actually mean."

The Business Council of New York State says biopharmaceuticals create big spillover job creation effects, and that the state should be investing more in that sector, reports James T. Mulder at the Post-Standard:

“We are competing against countries like Asia and South America that have invested in this industry,” [Business Council acting president Heather] Briccetti said at a news conference Monday at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “We need to strengthen the business climate so we can attract venture capital and give people the confidence that New York is a good place to invest and do business.”

Bankruptcy files continued their half-a-year decline in western New York, reports Jonathan D. Epstein at the Buffalo News.  It's the best report since 2006:

The cause of the bigger drop locally appears to be continued increased caution on the part of consumers and businesses, who have reacted to the recession and sluggish recovery by pulling back on spending so they avoid getting into trouble in the first place. That's happening nationally as well, but Western New York also didn't suffer as much in the recession as many other parts of the country. "We're seeing even more exaggerated effects of the recession here in Western New York to what is taking place in the rest of the country," said bankruptcy attorney Jeffrey Freedman. "Consumers are reducing their overall household debt, and they are not using credit."

WICZ anchor Steve Craig is leaving the news desk to become the head of Commerce Chenango, the economic development and business recruitment agency for Chenango County (via My-Ly Nguyen, Press & Sun-Bulletin).

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