Mon March 31, 2014

Tobacco tax differential encourages smuggling, organized crime

Wikipedia Commons

New York state has the highest inbound cigarette smuggling rates in the country according to recent research by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. 

Well over half of all cigarettes smoked in the state are illegal, and smuggling has increased by almost 60% since 2009.

The wide variation of taxes across different states is also encouraging illegal trafficking, according to Scott Drenkard, an economist with the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

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Thu March 6, 2014
Federal Reserve

Harsh weather hurts state’s service sector and retail: Federal Reserve

The harsh winter of 2013/2014 has made itself felt across the state’s economy according to the The Federal Reserve’s ‘Beige Book’, a summary of commentary from the Fed’s districts published Wednesday. New York state is classified as District Two under the Fed’s reporting system.

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Thu February 27, 2014

Investment dollars for upstate New York startups on the rise

Credit NathanaelB / Via Flickr

The amount of money being invested in startup businesses in upstate New York is increasing, but that doesn’t mean starting a business here is suddenly easy.

Upstate Venture Associates of New York, or UVANY, a startup business investment firm, found that nearly twice as much money came into upstate New York in the third quarter of last year, in comparison to the year before. There were 29 deals that quarter, worth $75.86 million. That's up from 16 deals worth $40.56 in the fourth quarter of 2012, UVANY found.

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Tue February 25, 2014

Syracuse patching twice as many water main breaks as normal

Crews work to repair a water main break on East Fayette Street in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Water department crews have spent a lot more time this winter digging into frozen ground, shoveling asphalt and sifting through mud to find holes in Syracuse’s plumbing as an unusually high number of water main breaks is putting a strain on city resources.

Since the beginning of the year, the city’s century-old water system has sprung more than a hundred leaks. That’s more than two a day that city works crews have had to patch and twice the number the city normally deals with.

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Wed February 19, 2014

Water mains and transportation focus of infrastructure forum

Greg Lancette of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 union speaks with Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) at an infrastructure forum Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Central New York's underground infrastructure - namely, water mains - was a big focus of a discussion about the region's infrastructure hosted by Rep. Dan Maffei Tuesday.

Maffei, a Democrat from Syracuse, gathered elected officials, engineers and administrators at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse to discuss infrastructure. One main message was that upgrades and maintenance of the region's plumbing and water pipes has been an often ignored or delayed investment.

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