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Buffalo First to Andrew Cuomo

Mr. Governor-Elect:

Congratulations on your victory tonight!

We look forward to having a governor as loyal and proud as the community he represents, who believes in New York’s assets and potential and who does his due diligence to support the development of local independent businesses, a quality economy, diverse culture and a sustainable future.

Western New York is not just a place for political candidates to stump. We have a vital role to play in the overall success of the state. Although less than 15 percent of the population resides here, our natural resources and labor go a long way in allowing the rest of the state to function.

Let’s get to work. Together.

Just over a month ago, you unveiled your New York Works agenda, a plan that will set New York State on a path to long-term prosperity, in Buffalo. With great conviction, you spoke of a commitment to aggressive business development efforts and finding unique solutions to both sustain and revitalize the state economy, particularly with attention to Western New York. Your proposed initiatives included lowering the cost of doing business in the state, cutting through bureaucratic “red tape” and putting New Yorkers back to work through programs like the “Jobs Now” tax credits.

Your initiatives are laudable and necessary for creating a “business-friendly” environment in which entrepreneurs have more support and fewer restrictions from the government. New York State would greatly benefit from the newly generated tax base that these initiatives would inevitably produce, enabling the filling of budgetary gaps and a significant reduction of the current deficit.

But don’t stop there. Set a bold agenda, Mr. Cuomo.

Make our state a leading green example through legislation that promotes and incentivizes real change and sustainability.

Support the passage of A11498 NYS Benefit Corporation Legislation. A comprehensive economic development plan is not in New York’s foreseeable future unless the state allows for this new entity. A marketplace of B Corporations, projected to reach five to seven percent of US GDP—the current size of the nonprofit sector—comprised of socially conscious and sustainably aware businesses is knocking on our doorstep. We would be best served to let them in.

Good practices should not be mistaken for good marketing—or too long, a good image (often without true good to back it up) has defined the criteria for tax and investment incentives and government purchasing preferences. Instead, these economic tools should be reserved for sustainable businesses that enhance our community, believe in the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) and inspire others to do the same.

Mr. Governor-Elect, we support you as you strive for a local independent economy for New York State and hope that a new administration also ushers in a new era – one of the social entrepreneur.

All my best,

Sarah E. Bishop, Executive Director, Buffalo First

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