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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced early in his term that he'd be creating a set of "regional economic councils" to build plans for funding economic development across New York, from the ground up.In the summer of 2011 he finally announced some of the details of the program, to be led by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy. The ten councils each have dozens of members, and are charged with gathering input from the public and business leaders, and creating a plan by November 14. Those plans will be pitted against each other for a pot of $1 billion in grants, incentives, and tax relief from various state agencies. The winners will get more funding, the losers will get less.But other details - like whether funding will be available past the initial term, and who will serve on the board that decides who wins and who loses - have not been released.The Innovation Trail is looking for your feedback about what your regional economic priorities are, and what you want your community to look like once the councils have completed their task.

Governor Cuomo releases details on economic development regional councils

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Cuomo has been promising regional economic development councils since his "State of the State" address in January.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has just announced that the regional councils that he's been promising for so long will allow regions to apply to a billion dollar fund, on behalf of a coordinated economic development strategy.

The Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick will have more details this afternoon, but here are the highlights from the press release issued by the governor's office.

The 10 regions (captured here in blurry cell phone glory by Gannett's Jon Campbell) will be able to apply for funds for projects that they deem to be part of their "regional strategy."  

The process for doing that is through a "consolidated funding application" or CFA.

The billion bucks come from multiple agencies, in the form of grants and tax incentives:

  • Empire State Development
  • NYS Canal Corporation
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
  • Environmental Facilities Corporation
  • Homes and Community Renewal
  • Department of Labor
  • Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation

There's a guidebook about how the governor is shifting "the state's approach to economic development" [PDF] (or, if you prefer a non-PDF version, here).

There's not much more about who will be on the councils, based on what's in the release:

Each Council will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and will be led by two Vice Chairs from the business and academic community. Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits, and community-based organizations.

The councils are being created through executive order, not the legislative process.

The regions will be called:

  • Capital District
  • Central New York
  • Finger Lakes Region
  • Long Island
  • Mid-Hudson
  • Mohawk Valley
  • New York City
  • North Country
  • Southern Tier
  • Western New York

Stay tuned for more details as we learn them!
Update at 2:19 p.m. - "Cautiously optimistic"

The Business Council of New York State (which, you may recall, supplied the governor with his new head of Empire State Development) released a statement signaling tentative support for the plan:

The Governor's second phase of his plan for a new New York sends a signal to business leaders that the state is prepared to not only control the cost of government but to invest in business. By looking at economic development from both a statewide and regional perspective, business and civic leaders will have direct input into how economic incentives, procurement practices, tax relief and mandate relief initiatives are designed. We are cautiously optimistic that the Governor's plan will streamline the process for New York business.

And hat tip to @bianys (the Business Incubator Association of New York State) and the Innovation Trail's Zack Seward for pointing out that the region names, and maybe the boundaries, for the councils are the same as the ones that Empire State Development already uses.

Update at 3:08 pm. - "We can get down to business"

Now Unshackle Upstate, the Rochester-based pro-business lobby group has weighed in on the governor's plans, with the following statement emailed to reporters:

“The plan put forth today by Governor Cuomo further capitalizes on the positive momentum of this year’s legislative session and will help put our economy back on track. Now that the state’s economic development efforts will be led at the local level with access to $1 billion in existing resources, we can get down to the business of creating good-paying private sector jobs and strengthening New York’s economy.”

Update at 5:47 p.m. - More details

The Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick has more details on the governor's plans here.

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