10:24am

Thu January 27, 2011
Morning news round-up

Buffalo exporting more than just wings to the world

Buffalo is big in Japan

Well, maybe not Japan - more like Canada and Mexico, reports the Buffalo News.  The Buffalo Niagara region has been besting the national average for exports for several years, and should now take advantage of opportunities in Asian and Latin American markets:

Western New York needs to tap into that to “get a piece of the action,” said Gary D. Keith, M&T Bank’s regional economist, who cited those figures in a presentation at the Buffalo Club.

“It’s becoming a bigger part of America, in terms of our economic prosperity, to really look at these offshore markets,” Keith told several dozen lenders and business executives. “These are the growing parts of the globe. If we don’t take advantage of it, we’re missing out.”

Understanding the State of the Union

The New York Times' Economix blog has a great Q&A between readers and writer David Leonhart about what the proposals in the State of the Union could mean.  Here's an example:

Q. The president proposed revising the corporate tax structure to reduce the tax rate and pay for it by reducing tax preferences. In your opinion is this economically and politically feasible? — Ken C, New York

A. Economically, yes. Politically, I don’t know. Corporations obviously want their tax rates to be cut. (Who wouldn’t?) It’s not at all clear if they’re willing to give up various tax loopholes in exchange.

It's a really good breakdown and definitely worth reading all the way through.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic wonders where exactly the nation's "innovation advantage" (as touted in the State of the Union) lies.  Derek Thompson notes the president talks a lot of clean energy game, but when you look at actual expenditures our investments go more toward bioscience and IT.  His conclusion is cautionary:

That's the dark side of Washington betting on winners and losers. Sometimes we get the Internet, and sometimes the government's winners turn out to be losers. It doesn't mean the U.S. should necessarily get out of the innovation business. It means that an innovation economy is both a choice and a bet.

Wine lobby

New York winemakers want in on the "I Love NY" campaign, with a special marketing arm to promote the industry here, reports Gannett's Albany bureau:

The goal is ultimately to get people to walk into a store and ask for a Finger Lakes wine or a Hudson Valley wine, just as someone now would ask for a Bordeaux or Tuscany wine, said Carlo Devito, co-owner of the Hudson-Chatham winery in Columbia County and leader of the campaign.

Taking care of taxes

Senator Schumer says businesses should take advantage of benefits "already on the books," reports the Times Union.  Schumer says a new tax credit could knock $25,000 of the tax bill for many:

He called the tax break one of the “best kept secrets in New York” and compared it to gold bricks being around the street corner, but you just don’t know they’re there.

Meanwhile, the senator tells Gannett's Washington bureau that federal spending cuts would cost a million jobs.  Republicans are disputing those numbers, saying the cuts are required to deal with the nation’s deficit.

Deconstruct, don’t demolish

A group of SUNY ESF students are calling for a block of Syracuse homes to be "deconstructed" rather than demolished, reports the Post-Standard:

Hardware, such as doorknobs, switches, iron grates from heat registers and other distinctive items could be sold at a nonprofit or for-profit store to be used again, or “repurposed,” as parts of fine furniture.

Markets have been established for parts from demolished buildings in other parts of the country. Some, such as “A Piece of Cleveland,” have been very successful, the students said. Buffalo and Binghamton have stores that sell parts salvaged from homes and, the students said, Habitat Restore on Otisco Street in Syracuse provides reuse of parts on a small scale.

The initiative is similar to another Syracuse endeavor that the Innovation Trail's Ryan Morden covered last year, where buildings are deconstructed and the history of the item is encoded on it before it’s sold.

Makeover on Grand Island

The former HQ of Dunlop Tire, on WNY's Grand Island, is getting a makeover, after years of neglect and inaction.  The Buffalo News reports:

Buffalo-based Creative Structures Services is serving as general contractor for the project. Once approvals have been received, the company will start work on improvements, including removing spray-on asbestos from the interior, installing new window treatments and glass, removing graffiti and demolishing such components as decaying drywall, said David Pawlik, president of Creative Structures.

But what will happen to the property once its restored is unclear:

Suggestions for reusing the property have included a hotel, senior citizen apartments and a developer's corporate offices. Even the Grand Island School Board considered acquiring it years ago, before voters shot down the plan. Through it all, the building sat idle.

Mullen out at ESD, next steps uncertain

The Rochester Business Journal has a farewell feature on Dennis Mullen, the outgoing head of Empire State Development:

Dennis Mullen's departure from the Empire State Development Corp. will deprive the Rochester area of a local economic development voice in state government, local leaders said this week, but revitalization locally and for all of upstate is not contingent on one person.

Working in Rochester

The Democrat and Chronicle has a great look at how the Rochester area's workforce has changed as big firms like Kodak and Xerox have cut back:

The changes in the local work force — with a decline of manufacturing jobs and growth in higher education and health care — are part of a national trend.

"This reflects shifts in the U.S. economy over several decades related to changes in technology and globalization," said Jaison Abel, a Buffalo-based economist who works for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Speaking of Kodak, the paper also reports that the photo firm’s digital point-and-shoot business didn't fare so well in the company's latest earnings report, and  could be a cost-cutting opportunity.

Quickly

  • Binghamton University has banked a deal with an Indian university to help train engineers (Press & Sun-Bulletin).
  • The Times Union has an update on plans to build an ethanol plant at the Port of Albany, following a judge's ruling.
  • Binghamton's "State of the City" address will be on February 16 (Press & Sun-Bulletin).
  • Private colleges and universities are big contributors to the state economy, reports the Times Union, with a statewide payroll of almost $20 billion.
  • Cornell will be part of a $100 million Intel project to fund commercial research in computing (Information Week).

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