In what can only be described as another kick in the groin of Niagara County, First Niagara was given a $1.3 million incentive by the state of New York's Empire State Development Corporation to move its headquarters from Pendleton to Buffalo.
Now, FN is trying to spin the move with a "the Pendleton office will remain at capacity" angle. Obviously the folks at First Niagara think we're complete idiots. Sure, the space will be utilized as a glorified call center, at least until the bank's latest round of IDA tax breaks come to a close, but the highest paying jobs are being sucked right out of our community.
It's always disgusted me that the IDA of one community can solicit the businesses of another community to move. Now we have the state giving incentives to a company to move from one community to another, and it's a goddamn disgrace. How anyone would think this is a good move is mind boggling. The state is doing nothing more than cannibalizing businesses.
Here's an idea Empire State Development and New York State Legislature: try making the state a little bit more business friendly. Try lowering taxes and utility rates; try eliminating Wicks Law, Scaffold Law and the Taylor Law; try not caving into the special interests who own your asses.
I laugh out loud when I hear these candidate forums and read these candidate questionnaires when they ask elected officials what they're going to do to create jobs. IT IS NOT THE JOB OF GOVERNMENT TO CREATE JOBS; IT IS THE JOB OF THE GOVERNMENT TO CULTIVATE AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS CONDUCIVE TO JOB GROWTH. It's not a difficult concept to grasp. Then again, maybe it is.
As for First Niagara, I believe that I have five accounts with them. I will be pulling all of them out. If they're not committed to my community, why the hell should I have the least bit of commitment to them? I'll move my accounts to HSBC. At least the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation doesn't pretend to be a local bank.
If you live in Niagara County, especially Lockport, where the former Lockport Savings Bank got its long forgotten roots, join me in telling First Niagara exactly where they can stick their deposits.