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Politics

New York has a new money man

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SqueakyMarmot
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via Flickr
Move over George, there's a new money man in Albany: Ken Adams, of the Business Council of New York State.

Ken Adams appointment reaction
As we reported yesterday, Ken Adams of the Business Council of New York will be the new head of Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency. 

Here's what folks around the state are saying about the appointment.

Times Union:

In naming Kenneth Adams, the president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, Cuomo tapped one of the state's most prominent voices for reducing the tax and regulatory burden, as well as someone credited with pumping new life into the Business Council.

The Buffalo News points out that what role Adams will play in the Cuomo administration's larger economic development plans isn't clear yet:

Still uncertain is how the agency will change if Cuomo goes ahead with plans -- still not detailed -- to create regional councils around the state to decide how state economic development money should be spent in places like Western New York.

Capital Tonight got more details about Adams' replacement and salary at ESD:

UPDATE1: The Business Council has made Vice President of Government Affairs Heather Briccetti their acting President and CEO. The Council tells CapTon that the Board of Directors will be conducting a nationwide search for a permanent replacement. UPDATE2: Adams will be paid $175,000 – a $40,000 decrease from what Mullen received. This, according to Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto, is a sign of things to come. Similar salary reductions will be made throughout ESDC in a nod to the state’s fiscal difficulties.

Greater Binghamton Business Journal:

Choosing Adams shows Cuomo is serious about transforming New York, Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO, said in a news release. CenterState CEO is the Syracuse area's main business and economic-development organization. "Gov. Cuomo understands that for New York state to thrive once again, we need a strong private sector to lead the way," Simpson said. "Ken will do wonders for New York's economic development and I applaud the governor on his choice."

Buffalo Business First:

[Buffalo Niagara Partnership's Andrew] Rudnick, who has a close working relationship with Adams, said the new role will be a tough one. Adams will be responsible for overseeing Cuomo’s plan to create 10 regional councils that will comprise the revamped Empire State Development Corp. At least one of those councils will focus on the Buffalo Niagara region. “ESD, going forward, will be very different than the ESD of today,” Rudnick said. “Fortunately, Ken probably understands the upstate issues as much as anyone from downstate can.”

New York Observer Politicker NY blog:

And [Adams] seems unlikely to push for further taxes. He was recently quoted in The Atlantic issuing dire warning about the state's fiscal future. According to Kenneth Adams of the Business Council of New York State, many of his members would love to expand in the state, but they can't afford to, because the tax burden is too high on their businesses and their employees. East Coasters eagerly awaiting the opening of the next Wegmans supermarket in their area should perhaps give a silent thanks to New York State's legislators; the hugely popular chain no longer seems to be opening stores in its home state, which now ranks dead last on the Tax Foundation's annual State Business Tax Climate Index.

Syracuse mayor to answer citizen questions
Syracuse's mayor will be participating in a live Q&A with the Post-Standard today at noon, following her state of the city address last night. Log on here to participate.

Schumer speaks out
Senator Schumer is egging the Army to use a Rochester area firm's software in its vehicles, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.  Schumer sent a letter to a letter to the Army secretary John McHugh:

"I urge you to take advantage of technologies that can minimize the costs of operating and maintaining those vehicles," the New York Democrat wrote in a letter sent Thursday.

Meanwhile, Gannett's Washington bureau reports that a tax credit that Schumer touted earlier this week might not be available to as many small businesses as previously thought:

But some congressional Republicans and business trade groups, such as the National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, said the tax credit's expected benefits were overstated. NFIB estimates that only 35 percent of firms with fewer than 25 employees qualify for the tax credit if all the qualifiers — such as the requirement that employers pay at least half the cost of premiums — are taken into account.

Ed chief visits Buffalo
The Buffalo News reports that the state education commissioner told educators in a Buffalo suburb Thursday that increasing standards "isn't a fetish:"

"We raise standards because we want our children to do better than we did." Steiner said the raising of standards must be accompanied by a new flexibility. That could include exams that will allow students to advance in certain subjects on a proficiency basis, without taking the course. "We give special-education students a [proficiency exam], but we seem to assume that all other students are interchangeable," he said, "like robots advancing exactly parallel with each other."

“Making a smarter blade”
Times Union has a profile of a wind turbine researcher at Rensselaer, who's trying to use puffs of air to make wind turbines more efficient:

[Associate professor Miki] Amitay and his team of 10 graduate students and 15 undergrads believe that the jets allow the turbine blades to last longer and produce more energy by being more aerodynamic and less prone to vibrations. "You make a smarter blade," Amitay said. "We don't control the structure. We control the flow."

Buffalo gets back its metro
Buffalo will finally get its first in a batch of refurbished metro cars.  The vehicle is one of 27 sent to Hornell, where mass transit manufacturing is still big business.

Student protest over cuts
Students at SUNY Albany are protesting cuts to language programs by staging a walk-out, reports CBS 6 in Albany:

Banging on pots and pans to go along with catchy and clever chants, the mob paraded proudly for their cause around the campus before settling inside the campus center for a "teach-in," where the protest's organizers spoke in front of a packed room of eager listeners. "The teach-in is the primary activity that we are trying to get going today to motivate the students," said James Searle, a PhD. candidate at the University who helped organize the event. "Students haven't been efficiently made aware of the budget costs. There have been five department cuts and Governor Cuomo indicates that there are more to come. If we get the students to vote or lobby against them, maybe it'll make the New York State Assembly more aware of the students and it'll show them that they do care."

$10 million gift will go on
A deal to share space on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will allow the University at Buffalo to retain a $10 million gift for a vascular research (Buffalo Business First).

Profits round-up

  • Lockheed Martin banked $2.30 a share in the fourth quarter (Press & Sun-Bulletin).
  • Financial Institutions (parent company of Five Star Bank) was down 38 cents a share (Buffalo News).
  • First Niagara picked up 22 cents a share (Buffalo News).

Rochester tops yet another list
The website that allows you to see how much your neighbors' homes are worth and how many bathrooms they have (also known as Zillow) says that Rochester is the third-best place in the U.S. to buy a home, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.  The site used data for affordability, unemployment, foreclosure and price stability to build the listing, and the top city will definitely surprise you.  Hint: it's also in upstate New York (but it's not Albany – that city comes in at number 6).

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