02.03.16

SCHUMER REVEALS: HUNDREDS OF JOB-CREATING EDA APPLICATIONS GO UNFUNDED EACH YEAR, RESULTING IN THOUSANDS OF LOST JOBS AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES THROUGHOUT UPSTATE NY; SENATOR PUSHES FOR SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR CRITICAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANTS FOR FIRST TIME IN NEARLY A DECADE

The Economic Development Administration that Funds Critical Job Creation Projects Throughout New York has Not Had a Significant Funding Increase in Nearly a Decade – Lack of Funds Leaves Applications Unfunded Each Year

Schumer Presses to Significantly Expand EDA Funding for First Time in Nearly a Decade to Help Spur Economic Activity throughout Upstate New York; EDA Funds Are Critical to Projects like: Sewer Upgrades, Business Incubators, Industrial Parks, and Regional Innovation Plans 

Schumer: Upstate New York Cannot Afford another Decade without Increased Investments

On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched his push to significantly increase federal funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the first time in nearly a decade. The EDA has traditionally provided critical funding to communities across New York State for important job creation projects. However, despite increased costs and the need for additional federal resources focused on job retention and creation, there has been no significant increase in funding for the EDA over the last decade, and in some years funding for EDA has even been cut slightly. This lack of investment leaves nearly 800 applications nationally for federal funding unfunded each year, in the last few years alone New York has had well over 100 applications not receive funding due to a lack of available resources. As a result, Upstate New York communities miss out on countless opportunities to create new jobs, attract new businesses to the region and grow innovation.

“At a time when middle-class incomes are stuck in a morass and everyday families are being squeezed, we should be investing more resources into creating good-paying jobs, not less. These grant programs provide a real shot in the arm for local communities across Upstate New York, but each year, more and more projects are left unfunded, and job creation opportunities are missed because the agency has been shortchanged for more than a decade. A worst case scenario is when a community has done the hard work of attracting a new company to their backyard, but the business decides to move elsewhere because the EDA application for a modest infrastructure improvement was stalled,” said Schumer. “I am urging federal appropriators to make a significant increase in EDA funding this year so New York can use those funds to create new jobs, attract new businesses to the region and make key infrastructure upgrades.”

Schumer pointed out that Upstate New York communities miss out on countless opportunities to create new jobs, attract new businesses to the region and grow innovation. What little funding is available Senator Schumer has helped secure for valuable NY projects like Launch NY, a business incubator in WNY, millions for sewer upgrades in communities like Wellsville, and Westfield. Funding from the EDA was also used to support the Southern Tier Start-Up Alliance’s high-tech business incubator, the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, and the Tech Meadows Industrial Park in Glens Falls. However despite all of these successes, dozens more projects throughout New York State – still have not received funding. The lack of funds leaves upstate New York communities, often who have done the hard work of attracting a new company to their region or developing an innovating plan for job creation, missing out on opportunities.

The EDA’s mission is to promote innovation and competitiveness in the American economy. Schumer explained that the EDA does this by providing grants to state and local governments as well as economic development councils, public and private non-profit organizations, universities and other institutions that support the development and implementation of economic development projects, typically in economically distressed communities. Schumer said that the EDA is unique because it’s the only federal government agency focused exclusively on economic development. The EDA operates under the basic principle that communities must be empowered to develop and implement their own economic development and revitalization strategies. The EDA works directly with local economic development officials to make grant investments that are well-defined, timely, and linked to a long-term, sustainable economic development strategy. Schumer said this makes the EDA’s grant programs – including Public Works and Economic Development, Economic Adjustment Assistance, Planning, Technical Assistance, Research and Evaluation, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms, and Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund – invaluable resources for local communities.

Schumer noted that EDA grant funding has been helpful in paving the way for new businesses or incubators to come into a community, by providing the federal funds needed to make an initial infrastructure investment that is required. Past EDA awards have also helped leverage private funds or matching state funds for projects like sewer upgrades and disaster recovery. However, Schumer said that while these EDA funds can provide a boost to the regional economy and help get projects underway, there has been no significant increase in funding for the EDA over the last decade and, in some years, funding has even been cut slightly. This has negatively impacted the agency’s ability to invest in development projects across the country, including in places that could desperately use an economic jolt in upstate New York. In fact, Schumer said, each year the EDA receives hundreds of applications that go unfunded because of a lack of available federal support. For example, in FY 2013, the EDA was able to fund roughly 670 applications for funding, despite getting an average of 1,476 grant applications. In terms of total dollars, the value of grant applications received in 2013 was $2.5 billion; that year, the EDA only $183.4 million to spend.

Therefore, Schumer urged federal appropriators to provide as much funding as possible to the EDA this fiscal year, in order to help support local communities’ efforts to apply for these federal funds and attract new jobs and opportunities to regions that need it the most. Schumer said that, in preparation for the President’s Budget – set to be released next week – he is urging federal appropriators to make a significant increase in EDA funding this year – the first such increase for the EDA in over a decade.

During the call, Schumer said there were 144 applications funded across the state of New York between 2007 and 2014, for a total of $52,493,629. However, from 2011 to 2014 alone, there were 83 applications still left unfunded, for a total of $100,370,168.

-          In the Capital Region, there were 12 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $5,230,000; 13 applications, for a total of $15,106,000 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In Central New York, there were 16 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $5,130,000; 11 applications, for a total of $18,936,969 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In Western New York, there were 26 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $4,136,465; 6 applications, for a total of $8,706,819 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In the Rochester-Finger Lakes, there were 15 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $9,072,500; 20 applications, for a total of $21,413,321 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In Southern Tier, there were 31 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $15,015,171; 8 applications, for a total of $8,926,692 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In the Hudson Valley, there were 15 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $9,949,993; 14 applications, for a total of $22,593,816 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

-          In the North Country, there were 29 applications that received funding (2007-2014) for a total of $3,959,500; 11 applications, for a total of $4,686,551 were left unfunded (2011-2014).

Schumer explained that many of these communities are pursuing regional innovation strategies, seeking the development of business incubator space to help jumpstart new companies or are simply in need of infrastructure investments to help build shovel-ready sites for interested manufacturers. However, often when these communities apply to the EDA for funding, often their applications need to be scaled back, carried forward but unfunded for a number of months, or they are flat out rejected because of a lack of available funding. Schumer said this is unacceptable, because each time this happens, these communities miss out on opportunities that could have helped improve their local economies and created jobs. Schumer highlighted several projects that have not yet been rejected but are still stalled because they are awaiting available federal funding, including a dairy incubator project at Cobleskill University, and a cloud computing and technology incubator space at Marist College.

Schumer also pointed to the fact that there have been many successfully-funded EDA applications, which have helped make projects possible, as evidence that these EDA grant programs can be impactful for local communities when properly funded. Schumer highlighted several projects funded by the EDA over the years that have helped improve communities:

-          Launch NY ($500,000 in 2015 & $637,000 in 2012)

  • EDA funds were used to invest in Launch NY, a prominent business incubator in Western New York. This incubator is headquartered in Buffalo and aims to spur economic development across 27 counties in the Western New York, Central New York, Rochester-Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier regions. Launch NY has provided new start-ups and entrepreneurs in upstate New York with the resources needed to succeed in the 21st Century business climate.

-          Southern Tier Start-up Alliance ($2 million in 2013)

  • The Southern Tier Start-up Alliance also used federal EDA funds to bring together collaborators from Binghamton University, Cornell University, and Corning, Inc. to support manufacture-ready businesses. This high-tech incubator has helped develop a shovel ready construction site for a 40,000 square foot high-tech business and technology incubator in downtown Binghamton.

-          Rochester Institute of Technology ($1.5 million in 2013)

  • EDA funds were used to rehabilitate the former Rochester Community Savings Bank building to establish RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in downtown Rochester. The renovated facility has served as an urban entrepreneurship program and incubator focused on job growth, business expansion, developing minority owned enterprises and increasing access to venture and other capital.

-          Tech Meadows Industrial Park located in Glens Falls ($765,000 in 2010)

  • In addition, major sewer infrastructure upgrade projects have been implemented in communities like Glens Falls, Wellsville, and Newburgh through EDA awards. Specifically, in Glens Falls, these EDA funds were used for the construction of water and sewer lines and related infrastructure to support the development of the Tech Meadows Industrial Park. New facilities at Tech Meadows were aimed at attracting new industries – allowing for the expansion of the nano-technology, medical instruments, and computer chip manufacturing clusters in the Capital Region.

“Funding from the Economic Development Administration can be the difference maker when it comes to creating jobs and growing our innovation economy. The limited resources we have received have helped to support some transformative projects throughout New York State. However, far too often we see projects that need to be scaled back, stalled, or denied funding all together because of a lack of available federal dollars. Senator Schumer’s efforts to increase EDA funding will pay dividends throughout upstate New York, and help us build on the successes we’ve had,” said Tom Schryver, Executive Director of the Center for Regional Economic Advancement at Cornell University.

“Due to the vital support of Senator Schumer in securing Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding for Launch NY, we have assisted nearly 500 high-growth potential businesses, comprising over 1200 jobs. This funding truly embodies the type of support needed to grow innovative new businesses, and put people to work. In order to compete in a global economy, increasing EDA funding is critical to communities like Western New York to create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Marnie LaVigne, President and CEO of Launch NY the only nonprofit venture development organization serving Upstate NY.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to federal appropriators appears below:

Dear Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairwoman Mikulski:

I write to request increased funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. I know that we all share the goal of improving economic development and job creation efforts throughout the Country. In this light, I urge you to provide as much funding as possible to the Economic Development Administration to help support their efforts to attract new jobs and opportunities to communities that need it the most. 

Each year hundreds of applications to EDA for funding for worthwhile and valuable projects go unfunded because of a lack of available federal support. For example, in FY 2013 EDA was able to fund roughly 670 applications for funding despite getting an average of 1,476 grant applications. Many of these unfunded applications result in lost opportunities for countless communities to add new jobs, attract a new company, or grow their regional innovation efforts. In New York, EDA funding has been essential to a number of important projects including in Binghamton, where a $2 million dollar award helped to launch the Southern Tier Technology Incubator which has helped inject nearly $21 million into the local economy. Other projects, like Launch NY in Buffalo, the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, and the Glens Falls Tech Meadows Industrial Park have all been recipients of significant EDA investment. As great as these success stories are, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what smart investments from the EDA can accomplish.

Each month I hear from communities throughout New York who are working on a wide variety of economic development and job creation initiatives. Many of these communities are pursuing regional innovation strategies, seeking the development of business incubator space to help jumpstart new companies, or are simply in need of infrastructure investments to help build shovel ready sites for interested manufacturers. However, often when these communities apply to EDA for funding their applications need to be scaled back, carried forward but unfunded for a number of months, or flat out rejected because of a lack of available funding. Each time this happens these communities miss out on opportunities that could have helped improve their local economies and created jobs.

While I understand that resources are limited, investing in EDA beyond the roughly $200 million it has received in recent years is a worthwhile initiative. Growing the annual appropriation to EDA will provide valuable resources that can be used to create jobs throughout the Country. I appreciate your consideration of this request, should you need further information please do not hesitate to contact Nick Dhimitri in my office.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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