State of state: No optimism for this area

No matter how upbeat state Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed on Wednesday regarding New York’s future, northern Chautauqua County residents cannot share in the enthusiasm.

During his State of the State address – more than once – Cuomo highlighted the economic development and “Open for Business” initiatives for the “new New York” that brought a round of applause from those in attendance. Residents here did not know whether to laugh or cry.

The new year has not been kind. One major plant is closing in Silver Creek while another is downsizing in Dunkirk. These actions will lead to the loss of nearly 400 jobs.

No matter how good things look to Cuomo from the Albany perspective, it is quite bleak here. Population has continued its decline and local governments and school districts still have little desire to work together to reduce spending and taxes.

But Cuomo may not recognize just how bleak it has become in Chautauqua County when you consider the fact the governor has not made a trip here since he was in Jamestown shortly after his election in January 2011.

He did make one solid point during the address when the governor called the job growth of upstate over the last 10 years “sad and troubling.” Recent events in this region in regard to major industry and our work force, however, are just “sad.”