Press-Republican

May 18, 2013

Economic development councils begin third round

Region vies for share of $760M in state funding

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The third round of the Regional Economic Development Council Program has millions up for grabs, and the North Country will be reaching out with both hands once again. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted council co-chairs and local economic development officials in Albany this week to detail the process and officially launch the 2013 competition.

“Over the past two years, the regional economic development councils have been a tremendous success, transforming our state’s approach to job creating from a traditional Albany top-down model to a community-based, bottom-up process,” Cuomo said in a press release. 

“From Niagara Falls to Plattsburgh to Long Island, the results are clear in communities all across the state as new projects are being launched, creating jobs and supporting local economic growth.”

The North Country Council was awarded $193.4 million in the first two rounds, the second highest amount among the 10 regional councils.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, co-chair of the North Country Council, said they are looking forward to the next round.

“The North Country has truly grasped the opportunity given to our region by Governor Cuomo, in terms of identifying our key needs and opportunities and successfully competing for more than $200 million in state investment in our priority economic development projects. 

“Most importantly, we’ve been able to create an entirely new platform for collaboration and shared support across the seven county region for the first time ever,” he said by email. 

5 TOP PERFORMERS

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, chair of the regional economic development councils, said the past two rounds have shown what a difference can be made to local economies by listening to regional business and community leaders. 

“Under Governor Cuomo’s vision, we will continue to do this and ensure that New York state is on the path to economic success.”

He applauded the co-chairs and their teams for the hard work they accomplished for the first two rounds.

In Round 3 , $760 million in state funding and tax incentives will be awarded. That includes $220 million — $150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits in competitive awards — and $540 million for state-supported programs through the consolidated-funding application process.

All 10 regions will again compete against each other. Five identified as “top performers” will receive $25 million each and the remaining will compete for the balance of $25 million. Each region is also eligible for up to $10 million in tax credits.

Top performer status will be based on implementation of the initial five-year strategic plan, economic growth through job creation and investment and identification of transformative projects that support collaboration.

Application materials will be available by June 3. The consolidated-funding application process will open to applicants on June 17, and submissions from the regional councils are due September 24.

INCUBATOR PLANS

Cuomo also announced an Innovations Hot Spots Competition to promote the commercialization academic research and grow the state’s economy. For that contest, regional economic development councils will put regional incubator plans together that foster innovation by offering start-ups at low-cost and support to help commercialize academic research.

The competition is designed to make New York a leader in attracting venture capital and industry-sponsored research spending. While universities in New York rank second nationally in total research dollars spent, the state attracts only 4 percent of the nation’s venture capital, while California pulls in 47 percent. 

Incubator Plans, the release said, must demonstrate a connection with a higher-education institution and have the ability to transition technology from lab to marketplace, link to regional sources of innovation and expertise, provide industry accepted best practice services, agree to maintain and operate program for three years and generate a two-to-one match to the state grant for support services.

Winning incubators will receive financial support services from the state, including funding for legal, technical and business costs. As many as five incubators will be chosen this year, along with five in 2014.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com