By Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent)
Last week, I sat on a legislative panel with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York to discuss energy issues and economic development in our manufacturing sector. Over the past 20 years, manufacturing jobs have declined, but with the right policies we can retain what we have and create new jobs for our future.
Those policies include an improved version of what is now called Power for Jobs. Iâ€™ve worked closely with MACNY, the Business Council, statewide Chambers of Commerce and other key business and manufacturing leaders to develop legislation that will work for New York State, especially Upstate New York. What came out of those discussions was Energize New York legislation I introduced with the endorsement of these groups.
This legislation has many great things in it for job retention and creation in our region and across New York State. But what is just as important is the process. Too often we see laws written and passed, and then people are asked to work with them. This is how the original Power for Jobs operated for more than a decade, renewed year by year, without the input of business to make it better.
Iâ€™ve set out to change that. When I took on the challenge of crafting a permanent and improved successor to Power for Jobs, I started by touring the state, meeting with businesses, manufacturers, economic developers and other interest groups. I did not think it was appropriate to just have one interest group or policy staff in Albany lay out the framework for what I would sponsor. Instead, on a bill of this importance, we made it a group effort.
Iâ€™ve approached my work as chair of the Agriculture Committee the same way. As our representative, itâ€™s important that all people are heard. We as a community and a government cannot afford to get caught up on extreme views left or right, but policies that work for all of us. In the end, all ideas may not end up in any particular piece of legislation, but all ideas should be considered. Thatâ€™s what it means to be part of a representative democracy. This is the American way and this is essential to rebuilding our economy in New York.
We have to work together, balance competing interests and trust each other to share our ideas and achieve our common goals of creating good jobs that will restore our economy. In the end, what Iâ€™ve proposed will move the current Power for Jobs program, which has served well to retain jobs, into a job creation program that will give businesses the certainty they need to invest in New York. It also focuses resources on Upstate New York, small businesses and our farms by using a dedicated source of power to keep the program stable for years to come.
I am committed to continue to work together to build support in the Assembly so that we can move beyond politics and make sure we have the type of program that not only protects jobs at places like Birds Eye Foods in Fulton and Corning in Canton, but helps to create jobs throughout our economy, from our farms and small businesses, to the largest employers.