January 28, 2014
When it comes to politics, it's all about influence. Last year New York State lost two House of Representatives members to other states because population remained relatively flat, while other parts of the country grew. In the minds of New York state politicians they see only one thing, loss of power as growth shifts to other areas.
In Rochester, there is also a perception of a loss of influence. Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise and Mayor Lovely Warren have both complained about not getting their fair share in state aid this month. Both have slightly different agendas, but essentially see the same thing, more money is going to Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and other cities than it is to Rochester. It's even become a tradition for New York State mayors to come to Albany each January to testify before a committee. They're essentially begging for cash and relief, hence the name "Tin Cup Brigade".
Unfortunately, with the New York City metro comprising a majority of state population and Albany being the capital and a center of influence, they will always be well taken care of regardless of need. Beyond those cities, places like Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica have been hit a lot harder than Rochester. While the city of Rochester has lost population the last few decades, Monroe County as a whole has actually grown. The same cannot be said Erie, Onondaga, and Oneida counties where the regions themselves are actually hemorrhaging people.
What does this mean for Rochester's economy? Likely, more of the same as these realities are hardly new. New York State has issued a number of unfunded mandates that have impacted local government's finances over the last decade. As a result, local governments have struggled to pay their bills and been forced to beg for aid to keep government funded. The federal government has actually done the same thing to the states. It's a vicious cycle which any local politician may have a hard time reversing.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).