The Regional Economic Development Councils have been a cornerstone of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to revitalize the state's economy. In his budget address Tuesday, Cuomo proposed a third round of state funding for the regional councils totaling $210 million.
The third round of funding will be split into two parts, $150 million for core funding of projects in the ten economic regions, with an additional $70 million available as tax credits.
Brian Sampson, the executive director of the business coalition Unshackle Upstate, says Cuomo's commitment to continued funding for the regional councils is a positive outcome for upstate.
"What the regional councils have done is really brought together the communities in those 10 regions; that's a very positive step. I think overall the regional councils have been good from the standpoint of someone taking the politics out of grants and incentives to grow businesses and create jobs," said Sampson.
Cuomo's budget remarks touched on his familiar preference for economic regionalism and local solutions rather than centralized planning.
Cumulatively, the ten regional councils have been the conduits for over $1.5 billion in state funding since their inception in 2011.
Cuomo's budget now goes to the state legislature for hearings.