In September, Marisa Lago took the helm of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) as president and chief executive officer. "Over the past year and a half, ESD has been working with business sectors throughout the state to prepare for a waning economy and tough fiscal challenges," she says. "Our proactive approach to business led to more than 13,000 new jobs, 39,000 jobs retained, and the leveraging of more than $2 billion in private investment last year. Although times have been tough for everyone, we've still seen growth in professional businesses, information technology and tourism."
Earlier this year, the governor signed legislation tripling the percentage of film costs eligible for a tax credit, a move aimed at recapturing $750 million in New York lost to neighboring states that enacted their own incentives.
In the nanotechnology research and development sector, on July 15, IBM unveiled significant new investments in New York State, creating up to 1,000 new high-tech jobs upstate and retaining 1,400 existing jobs. IBM's $1.5 billion investment will go toward three separate and complementary components of a comprehensive project, supporting the nanotechnology chip computer activities of IBM: a $375 million expansion of IBM's operations at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany (Albany NanoTech) that will create 325 new jobs; the creation of a $125 million, 120,000-square-foot advanced semiconductor packaging research and development center at a to-be-determined site in upstate New York, creating 675 jobs and managed by Albany NanoTech; and a $1 billion upgrade of IBM's East Fishkill semiconductor manufacturing facility. These projects are slated to begin by 2009 and be completed by 2011.
In renewable energy, the governor's attempt to increase the percentage of the state's energy generated from renewable sources is tied to the long-term significance of the Spanish company Iberdrola's acquisition of Energy East, the parent of New York State Electric and Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric. As a condition of approval by the Public Service Commission, Iberdrola, which has experience in wind power generation, agreed to a major investment in New York wind energy production and the development of other renewable energy sources that is expected to promote job creation and revenue.
"Now more than ever, it is crucial that our organization work to attract and retain businesses," says Lago. "The success of one part of the State relies on the success of the other. That is why it's critical that we work together to strengthen and support the health and vitality of New York's economy."