Howard Zemsky

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Testimony at an Assembly hearing Monday grew heated as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair defended some faltering job creation programs.

Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky also signaled the state may be backing away from a key program to give tax breaks to startup entrepreneurs.

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The city of Cortland has won first place in central New York prize for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition. The award comes with $10 million to fund projects aimed at developing the city's downtown region. That will include investments in a new gathering space for community activities, additional housing and re-imagining the city's infrastructure for the 21st century.

Mayor Brian Tobin says it builds on work already underway with the Cortland Downtown Partnership that was initially formed a decade ago.

Matt Ryan / WMHT File Photo

Lawmakers grilled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair Wednesday at a budget hearing, as some of the programs are embroiled in a corruption scandal that’s led to charges against several former associates of the governor.

Nine people have pleaded guilty or been indicted in connection with alleged bid-rigging and other corruption charges involving some of Cuomo’s economic development programs. They face trial later this year.

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Officials in the Mohawk Valley are scrambling to find a replacement tenant for a semiconductor chip fabrication plant in Marcy after its main corporate partner dropped out. But officials say they are still optimistic about the future of the project.

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If Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers hold a special session next week, they are likely to consider whether to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City. 

Ride-sharing services have stepped up their lobbying and ad campaigns in hopes of winning approval to expand into upstate and on Long Island by the end of the year, including a $1 million campaign by Uber. The ad, in part, says, “There’s one thing New Yorkers really want for Christmas this year. And it isn’t a one-horse sleigh.”

Matt Ryan / WMHT File Photo

Recommendations on how to go forward with some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development contracts tainted by scandal are expected to be out soon, according to the governor’s economic development chairman.

Buffalo businessman and Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky is trying to pick up the pieces after nine criminal complaints were issued against two former Cuomo associates, including a top former aide, along with the former head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who oversaw the contracts for the Buffalo Billion and other projects.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $30 million dollar airstrip that will test unmanned aircraft or drones will be built in central New York. The flight traffic management system is part of an overall push to drive the drone industry into the region.

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A routine oversight hearing by the state Assembly turned testy when the state’s economic development czar endured over two hours of questions about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs, which are currently under federal investigation.

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In her State of the County address, County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced that $20 million dollars from the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative will go towards Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education endowment. The program provides college tuition to public high school graduates in Syracuse and was facing a fundraising shortfall until the announcement.