Economy and Business

Every year Christmas tree farmers lose a portion of their crop to a fungus that attacks the root of the tree.  As Matt Martin reports, one tree farm in the Southern Tier has started planting a species that seems to be more resistant to the disease.

Dave Weil of Empire Evergreens in Painted Post is putting the final touches on a Christmas tree he has just sold.     

"This is the final product.  Ten years of work have gone into this moment when we hand it off to the customer and they can take it home and put it in their living room.”

It’s been 50 years since Broome County has had an economic development plan.  But that’s about to change.  The county legislature is scheduled to vote on a new plan next week.

The 326-page plan details specific ways to improve Broome County. The ideas include a new high-tech incubator in Downtown Binghamton and development of the natural beauty of the area.

At least one of the first four casinos that will be built in Upstate New York is coming to the Southern Tier.  Binghamton officials are putting their support behind building it in the Greater Binghamton area.

The Binghamton City Council voted to send a letter to both Governor Cuomo and the state gaming commission.  The letter had one clear message.  Build that new casino here.

Council member Jerry Motsavage says that having the casino close by will be a big economic boost to the local economy.

Taxes and tax reform are likely to be a major topic in the next legislative session, which begins in seven weeks. Governor Cuomo is relying on two separate commissions for ideas about tax changes, while progressive groups and Republicans in the State Senate are also weighing in.

Bagpipes played as guests gathered outside Traditions at the Glen in Johnson City. The sound was filled with the hopes of William Walsh, owner of the resort and spa.

Walsh invited community and business leaders to the Johnson City retreat to announce his bid to build a casino here in Broome County.

“We’re a local family.  We’re a third generation in this community.  And we are trying to do this with all local investors.

It looks like expanded gambling is headed to New York. Proposition 1, legalizing up to seven casinos, passed with 57% of the vote. The only proposition to fail was number 6, which would have increased the retirement age for some state judges.

The success of proposition number one and the failure of number 6 are both wins for Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The push for passage of a ballot amendment to allow up to seven new gambling casinos in New York has begun. A coalition of business leaders, labor unions, and local elected officials are holding press conferences across the state. They expect to run some TV ads, as well.

The name of the coalition says nothing about gambling casinos - instead it’s called New York Jobs Now. Business Council President Heather Briccetti says that the new resort style casinos proposed will bring employment to economically depressed areas.

Another anti gambling group has released a study debunking Governor Cuomo’s and the legislature’s claims about the benefits of permitting more casinos gambling in New York. As Karen DeWitt reports, so far opponents have been more vocal than supporters about the November 5th ballot referendum.

This November voters in New York will decide whether the state will allow up to seven new resort style gambling casinos, when they have the choice of saying yes or no to an amendment.  But the wording of the actual referendum on the ballot may increase the odds of the new casinos being approved.

Most ballot referendums proposing constitutional changes are written in very drab, and even confusing language.  But the proposal to change the state’s constitution to allow up to seven new gambling casinos is different.

An upstate pro-business group says regions of the state north of Westchester need special attention in the coming months to help the floundering economy. The group Unshackle Upstate is proposing a series of tax cuts, as well as a start to fracking as the remedy.