In his State of the State speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the only way to make New York the Empire State once again was through “a vibrant private sector that was creating great jobs.”(Emphasis added)
But the 10 regional councils Cuomo has vowed to create to drive economic development around the state are still unformed and his plan to remake the Empire State Development Corporation is shrouded in secrecy, with no word on who will get the top spot at the agency.
What can be gleaned from sources close to the discussions is that Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, who will oversee the regional councils, are intent on moving away from the top-down, New York City-and-Albany-driven models of the past, empowering the regional councils with funding and bond-buying powers, and instilling a sense of competition in the process to encourage growth.
After years of turnover, failed programs and conflicting mission statements, ESDC is widely seen as in desperate need of a jump-start.
It's hard to believe that the concept of "top-down, New York City-and-Albany-driven models of the past" doesn't include Atlantic Yards.
In December, ESDC Chairman Dennis Mullen had his valedictory. Mullen, in an unguarded moment last March, half-joked that Atlantic Yards was "a project that I would like to move off our portfolio."