Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul addressed Buffalo’s development, Start-Up NY criticism and Hilary Clinton’s email scandal during a visit to Buffalo Manufacturing Works Wednesday.
Buffalo Manufacturing Works is a research facility that helps businesses test products and become more efficient by partnering with Research and Development teams. The one-year old company housed on Main Street is filled with robots, 3D printers and labs for chemical experiments. More than 50 companies have used its services as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion investment in western New York.
“This facility has put Buffalo on the map internationally as far as having the innovative testing opportunities to help local businesses and businesses from all over test products, find whether there’s flaws but also to be known as a hub of advanced manufacturing in the country,” Hochul said.
However, Start-Up NY has not had a strong start. The program promises 10 tax-free years to tech businesses near college campuses to spur jobs and development. But according to a recent report, it has created just over 400 jobs, despite the tens of millions of dollars spent promoting it.
Hochul says she thinks a new strategy of promoting foreign businesses will strengthen the initiative.
“We need to take our message abroad,” Hochul said. “When I talked about the Start-Up New York program to companies, they were so interested. We have a number of them coming to New York state so I think that we’re just scratching the surface for the potential of businesses, brand new jobs that were never here before to come to New York state because of the Start-Up New York program.”
The program has already brought 70 businesses and more than 160 jobs to western New York. When it was launched, Start-Up NY promised 4,100 new jobs by the end of 2020. Hochul predicts 1,200 will ultimately be in western New York.
“Someone five years ago who would’ve said, ‘Pull the plug on Buffalo’ would’ve been seriously wrong in their calculation,” Hochul said. “I submit that the same is going on with Start-Up New York. We have more jobs here in western New York through Start-Up than anywhere in the state and it’s taking off. Now we’re going to be taking it to the rest of the state as well.”
Hochul, a Democrat, has been a longtime Hilary Clinton supporter. The presumptive Democratic nominee came under fire because she used a private email server to send classified information while secretary of state. The FBI yesterday recommended there be no criminal charges against Clinton, a decision that has led to much political debate. Hochul says there are more important issues to focus on.
“It’s time to move on. She has been under this cloud for over a year. We finally have gotten clearance from legal authorities which we were all waiting for so now let’s talk about issues that people in this country and the state of New York really care about,” Hochul said.
Hochul said she wants to hear more about how candidates plan on creating jobs, making education affordable and incentivizing business in cities such as Buffalo.