It’s no secret that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to boost the upstate economy haven’t panned out, but a new investigation this week documents just what a spectacular failure they’ve been.
The series, by Investigative Post, ProPublica and the Columbia School of Journalism, notes that since 2010, Cuomo by his own reckoning has dropped a whopping $25 billion to restart the upstate economy — but with pathetically little to show for it.
While jobs have grown 11 percent nationally since 2010, and 13 percent in all New York, upstate jobs grew just 2.7 percent, worse than in all but three states.
In some areas, jobs contracted: down 3.5 percent in Binghamton, for example, and 5.2 percent in Elmira. Worse, nine out of 10 new upstate jobs are in “low-wage sectors.”
This from billions spent on programs that, the investigation found, suffer from “a lack of transparency and objective analysis to determine their effectiveness.”
The spending takes the form of cash grants, tax breaks, electric discounts and even direct investment in factory buildings.
Ironically, Cuomo boasts of his programs’ “successes,” especially in the billion-plus he’s spent in Buffalo so far. Oops: Jobs there grew just 4.7 percent on his watch — while his outlays spawned corruption that led to several high-profile indictments.
Cuomo can’t blame anyone but himself. His policies weren’t “the right policies,” says fiscal expert E.J. McMahon. Indeed, some (his fracking ban, higher minimum wages, mandatory paid family leave and tax hikes on the rich) have served to stunt job growth.
Which has spawned an exodus. Last year’s net outflow of residents upstate actually topped the increase downstate, leading to the state’s first population decline in a decade.
Your tax dollars at work.