Last week, at the Republican State Convention, Rob Astorino announced he would not support the Buffalo Billion and charged that the program was "just throwing around tax dollars,” making it clear that he would end support for a critical economic development program, which he called "unsustainable.”
Today, several Western New York officials gathered at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a site of rapid economic growth fueled largely by state investment and the Buffalo Billion, to call on local Republicans to renounce Astorino on his recent statements against the Buffalo Billion initiative.
Disturbed by Astorino’s aversion to state investment in Buffalo, over 20 local leaders – including Congressman Brian Higgins; County Executive Mark Poloncarz; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Senator Tim Kennedy; Assemblymembers Sean Ryan and Crystal Peoples-Stokes; Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster; Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder; Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski; Erie County Legislators Barbara Miller-Williams, Pat Burke, Peter Savage and Tom Loughran; Niagara County Legislator Jason Zona; Buffalo Council President Darius Pridgen; Buffalo Councilmembers Chris Scanlon, Rich Fontana and Demone Smith; Amherst Councilman Mark Manna, City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis; Niagara Falls Councilmembers Andy Touma and Kristen Grandinetti – came together to release the following statement, urging bi-partisan support for continued progress through the Buffalo Billion.
"After decades of neglect for Western New York by downstate politicians like Rob Astorino, the Buffalo Billion and other state initiatives are transforming our region. From the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and its role in cutting-edge genome research; to the old Republic Steel Mill – soon to be reborn as the region’s hub for clean energy and new technology; to the 43North challenge that has drawn more than 2000 entrepreneurs from around the globe; to the transformation of the Robert Moses Parkway and investment in Niagara tourism; evidence of Western New York’s resurgence is all around us. You need only look to the cranes piercing the skyline to see the new energy in Buffalo and Western New York. As The Buffalo News said, ‘Everything pales next to Buffalo’s resurgence and the palpable change in how residents view their city.’
"The Buffalo Billion is working for Western New York, millions have already been invested directly into our communities, and Buffalo’s economy is finally turning the corner. It’s important to understand the state’s support for Buffalo and Western New York over the past three years has not been a Democrat or Republican driven initiative. In fact, the Buffalo Billion was approved by the State Legislature with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats.
"That’s why today we are calling on our Republican colleagues, and candidates for office, to repudiate Rob Astorino’s shocking rejection of the Buffalo Billion. The Buffalo Billion and other state incentives have been above partisan politics – and that’s what makes it work. The Buffalo Billion is a symbol of our region coming together, putting politics aside to create policies that benefit all Western New Yorkers.
"So, let’s stand together as Western New Yorkers, continue the bi-partisan support for the Buffalo Billion and reject Rob Astorino's opposition to state support through the Buffalo Billion for the economic resurgence of Western New York. Elected leaders from all corners of our state, and all political parties, should recognize the significance of this important initiative."