A conversation with. Patrick J. Foye, Chairperson, Empire State Development
"We already are leaders in nanotechnology research, semiconductors, and nanotechnology applications in the energy area. We are working on being a world leader in clean energy/clean technology/green technology, and in New York City, we have always been in the forefront of financial services, insurance, media, arts and entertainment, and educational institutions."
A. There are a number of projects that show how Empire State Development is responsive on a real-time basis to meet the needs of prospective businesses. In New York City, JPMorganChase has decided to occupy 1.3 million square feet of space to house 7,500 investment banking employees at Five World Trade Center. The company's decision is a ratification of the renaissance and resurgence of lower Manhattan. Upstate, International SEMATECH is locating its headquarters in and bringing 450 jobs to Albany NanoTech, a complex on the campus of the University at Albany which already houses a Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology. On Long Island, Canon USA is building a headquarters in Melville, retaining 1,100 jobs and agreeing to add 750. The new campus will result in an increase in research and development-related jobs. By 2013, Corning will complete the phased new $300 million research and development center at Sullivan Park Research and Development campus, adding 300 more engineers to the staff of 1,500 already in the Corning area.
Q. What are legislators doing to help in the process?
A. Key legislation this year included a bipartisan agreement on workers compensation reform, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in workers compensation rates. Workers compensation has plagued manufacturers here, and this reduction totals $1 billion annually and is incredibly positive news for New York employers, especially manufacturers. We are serious about changing New York's competitive situation. This year, the governor and the legislature approved $150 million in business tax relief, including cuts to the corporate franchise tax and reducing rates specifically for manufacturers. If we address the costs of doing business here, we believe it will have a multiplier effect throughout the state economy.
Q. What industry sectors are you targeting for expansion?
A. We are trying to help the state's existing base of manufacturers. We already are leaders in nanotechnology research, semiconductors, and nanotechnology applications in the energy area. We are working on being a world leader in clean energy/clean technology/green technology, and in New York City, we have always been in the forefront of financial services, insurance, media, arts and entertainment, and educational institutions. Upstate, we have university research being conducted in nanotechnology at the University at Albany, photonics at the University of Rochester, and, on Long Island, wireless technology at Stony Brook University. Biosciences, neuroscience, and life sciences are particular growth areas on Long Island and in New York City, with the help of institutions such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Stony Brook University, Sloan Kettering, Columbia Presbyterian, New York University, and Columbia University. We have a Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in Buffalo as well as the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Finally, we have opportunities for clean technology in Syracuse at SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Q. What about foreign direct investment and exports?
A. We are focused on attracting foreign direct investment from Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC), as well as our traditional FDI partner nations. We are doing more to help New York service providers and manufacturers export their products internationally. The state is a leading exporter to the U.K., Germany, and France, and we have significant opportunities to increase that export business in Europe and to the BRIC nations, especially China in light of the market price of the dollar.