Following up on yesterday's post about politics and economic development, a good test of whether the Niagara County Legislature is together in moving the county forward economically is whether or not they stand as one in fighting Governor David Paterson's plan to eliminate the position of Upstate Economic Development Czar.
The Upstate position was created by former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who divided the job of running the Empire State Development Corp. into two parts by creating equal upstate and downstate branches. Unfortunately for Western New York, Paterson is now being influenced by a downstate-dominated panel of business executives to end this system and appoint one director to oversee the entire statewide agency.
This cannot be good for Niagara County. Most Upstate economic development officials believe that current Upstate Chairman Dan Gundersen has been effective in his role, which is certainly a positive. But it's not about Gundersen personally, it's about Upstate and WNY losing a voice in economic development advocacy.
There should be no gray area when it comes to where the NC Leg should stand on this issue: As one, unified against this proposal by Governor Paterson. This is too important to let petty politics get in the way. If, of course, that's possible.