Start-Up NY Program – Absurd costs and dismal results shine light on NY’s misguided approach to creating jobs

Last week the Cuomo administration faced an oversight panel regarding concerns about several job creation programs. The hearing pressed Cuomo’s economic development chief, Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development CEO, about the lack of results surrounding Start-Up NY, Buffalo Billion and the NYS Excelsior Jobs Program, all of which use government/taxpayer money to prop up private companies.


Since its inception two years ago, the Start-Up NY program has spent over $53 million just on advertising (mostly on television ads in and out of state), and millions more in program administration and promised tax credits, all for the goal of stimulating job creation in new industries.


The result: just 408 jobs produced. That equates to a dismal return on taxpayer dollars and proves that Albany’s idea of how to work with and grow startups is all wrong.


There are two important distinctions I’d like to make between the Babinec JOB Effect Plan and these various government programs. First, I’m a believer that the private investors and markets are better equipped to take on these risks – not taxpayers and government. Secondly, I believe Upstate New York already has most of the assets to grow companies and jobs from the ground up without government needing to offer businesses financial/artificial incentives to relocate here.


The notion of business attraction as the primary vehicle for government to stimulate job creation is not new. Our state has led the way in offering up incentive after incentive seeking companies to relocate to New York, with some localities doing the same hoping to attract a company moving from one part of the state to another!


In addition to failing to produce job creating results, government led programs showering funds on preferred contractors and the political donor class give clear evidence of crony capitalism and corporate welfare.


While we’ve being doing these business attraction programs for decades now, Upstate New York’s population continues to decline – we’ve lost more than a million residents in the last 10 years.


And yet our politicians keep trotting out these failing programs, typically with a new and catchy label, somehow hoping that doing the same thing will yield a different result.


My approach is different and reflects the real world experience of both starting my own companies and helping hundreds of other entrepreneurs create and grow jobs through initiatives I helped develop through my non profit Upstate Venture Connect.


For me, it’s abundantly clear we have plenty of smart people capable and interested in starting companies in Upstate New York. The problem, is too many of them move away to other areas they believe will make it easier to connect with the resources they need to grow a business.


This is why I’m running for Congress. It’s not just the votes I’ll cast or job growing policies I’ll support – it’s the opportunity the Congressional role provides to exercise leadership in the District by helping put our many institutions and organizations on a more collaborative path to make our job creating environment one that supports, rather than ejects, the very job creators who hold the keys to our economic future.


Let’s remind politicians at all levels that business attraction is a waste of taxpayer funds and government program resources, and instead shift our attention to the many opportunities we have to actually contribute to a healthy job creating environment that will keep our best and brightest talent here – starting companies that in turn create the jobs that benefit all in the area.


This is just one of the many reasons why I’m creating the Upstate Jobs Party – a movement that rejects the public relations game politicians play where corporate welfare is disguised as economic development in order to lure business, ensure political donation and provide themselves with headlines and taxpayer paid advertising.


Now thanks to your help, the Babinec for Congress team has collected and filed over 10,000 petition signatures with the New York State Board of Elections to establish the Upstate Jobs Party line on the ballot in November!


Having launched my own company which I took public, to mentoring other startup founders and helping them grow and create jobs for our region, I’m proud of this milestone and look forward to spreading this entrepreneurial spirit across the community with the power of Congress on our side. Because politicians don’t create jobs – entrepreneurs do!


The Upstate Jobs Party defines a plan to start recognizing and nurturing the assets we already have in Upstate New York. A plan that will end crony capitalism and taxpayer-funded political giveaways. A plan that will lower the cost of doing business for all companies. And a plan that will invest in the assets that make our region be a job creation generator just like innovation hubs like Boulder, Colorado, Austin, Texas and other geographies that successfully evolved to full employment and high wages for all in the local market.


We live in a region blessed with natural resources and human resources that are among the finest on earth. Our challenge is to harness the talents of people and institutions already here in abundance – to educate, motivate and incentivize – to invest, mentor and network – and to collaborate, coordinate and innovate. And when we execute, we will celebrate.


If you’re fed up with poor governance, empty promises and crony capitalism, take a stand! Join our movement to breathe new life into the American Dream.