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Our senators do downstate's bidding

Here's how clueless Bill Stachowski and Antoine Thomspon are: The Democratic leadership trotted them out in Albany Thursday to plead for passage of an extension of the Power For Jobs program.

Trouble is, the program does Western New York little good. In fact, it's one of the ways the profits from  the Niagara Power Project are used to benefit downstate business interests.

Here's what I reported on the program in 2007 in my Power Failure investigation of the New York Power Authority:

The program was started in 1997 and was supposed to end in 2000, but lawmakers continue to extend it. In the process, they have required the authority to reimburse the state for an increasing share of lost tax revenue, now 100 percent. The program involved 599 companies as of a year ago, including 89 from Erie and Niagara counties, whose allocation of discounted power accounted to 12 percent of the statewide total.

Power For Jobs is now slated to end this June, but the authority as it now stands remains on the hook for another contribution of $175 million.

While Niagara power isn't the sole source of funding for the voluntary contributions, the Power Authority acknowledges the plant's profits do go a long way.

In other words, profits from our plant are being used to subsidize the operations of downstate businesses.

Rep. Brian Higgins is negotiating with the New York Power Authority to secure a portion of the Niagara Power Project's profits to benefit Western New York. The expiration of the Power For Jobs program would free up money towards that end. But we've got Thompson and Stachowski doing the bidding of downstate interests instead.

They're team players, all right. Just not our team.



New York Power Authority | State government
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