Analysis: Optimistic NY State Overlooks Icebergs
BY MICHAEL GORMLEY
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) â¿¿ Robert DeNiro is talking to America about New York's rebirth. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z sing of an Empire State of Mind in another national TV ad. New York has the promise of becoming the Greek-style yogurt capital of the world. Everywhere this summer, a "new New York" is being proclaimed.
"This is a new day," Gov. Andrew Cuomo told farmers and producers at Wednesday's "first yogurt summit ever in the history of the state of New York." He added: "This is a historic day."
Such heated hyperbole can be important. For example, the "yogurt summit" for all its fanfare and pretentiously silly name attracted national attention. It showed New York is serious and manufacturers will find a willing partner, handing out tax breaks while promising dairy farmers that some costly environmental protections will be relaxed.That attitude can help the economy because optimistic consumers and employers spend more and hire more. But New Yorkers on the front lines have heard these cheers before, even as more jobs disappeared while the cost of maintaining a big government rose. The July Siena College poll shows some caution. It's true, as Cuomo and legislators running for re-election say, that most New Yorkers finally think the state is headed in the right direction. But it's a bare majority at 53 percent in the poll with a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points. And 80 percent of those polled found the state's fiscal condition fair or poor, with just 19 percent calling it "good." Some less noticed facts also surfaced this month that show just how hard it will be to back up the happy talk with reality. Deep in the Aug. 1 report of the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is a line that shows 32 of 372 metropolitan areas nationwide reported higher unemployment rates in June than in June 2011. More than a third of them are all 13 of New York's metro areas from Buffalo to New York City. The state argues that a Consolidated Edison lockout of 8,500 workers temporarily inflated unemployment in New York City and its suburbs.
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