(WKBW release) New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday announced that New York State has initiated a $500,000 economic impact study to identify growth opportunities and retention strategies to keep state military bases as economic contributors and job generators in New York State.
According to a news release:
"New York State's military bases are a major economic driver for our state, and we must do all we can to keep them here," Governor Cuomo said.
The economic benefits created by New York State's military installations continue to be threatened by federal budgetary constraints, modernization initiatives, and future rounds of the Base Realignment and Closure program.
To protect New York's military bases and keep the state's National Guard strong, the study will focus on the military value, cost effectiveness and economic impact of key New York military installations, including the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. The analysis will help in the creation of a strategic plan to promote, enhance and protect New York's military bases.
Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy traveled this week to Washington, DC to meet with White House and Defense Department officials, as well as the state's congressional delegation to discuss Tuesday's announcement by the Department of Defense regarding reductions at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
State military bases account for more than 10,000 direct jobs with direct wages of $688 million and $1.9 billion of economic impact. New York State's primary military installations include:
•Niagara Falls Reserve Station
•Fort Drum, Watertown
•Air Force Research Laboratories, Rome
•Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia
•Hancock Field, Air National Guard Base, Syracuse
•Watervliet Arsenal, Albany
•Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn
•Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh
•Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Westhampton
Senator Charles Schumer said, "Our military bases are crucial to our nation’s security and a vital part of our state’s economy. I will continue to work with the Governor and the entire New York delegation to maintain our military infrastructure in New York. We will do everything we can to support the dedicated servicemen and women who work across our great state."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "One of the reasons I first came to Congress was to be a voice for our military communities. In addition to the many missions overseas, our military and National Guard have also come to our rescue here at home, especially in the wake of natural disasters that ravaged New York State last year. Restructuring our bases would cost us jobs, devastate local economies, and reduce our state's preparedness – all without providing projected savings in the Defense budget. New York's Guard bases give us strength and security, and we must fight to keep them open and fully active."
U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul, a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, said, "I thank Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for their efforts to protect the jobs of the over 800 brave men and women at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. With the combined support of the Governor, the Western New York delegation and our two Senators, we will not quit until we find a new mission for those stationed at the base."
U.S. Representative Christopher P. Gibson, U.S. Army Colonel-Ret., said, "New York's military installations not only produce some of our country's finest Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard service members, but they are critical to our economy - particularly Upstate. This study will help us work together at a state and federal level to preserve that commitment and I look forward to working with the Governor on this initiative moving forward."
U.S. Representative Richard Hanna said, "I applaud Gov. Cuomo for making this a priority. As founder of the Congressional New York Defense Working Group, whose aim is to promote and protect our military installations, this is welcome news and exactly what is needed. I look forward to working closely with the Governor's military affairs expert to ensure our facilities - especially Rome Lab - are bolstered. It was a pleasure to meet with Lt. Gov. Duffy and discuss our plan forward through this process."
U.S. Representative Brian Higgins said, "Protecting military infrastructure in Western New York is critical to jobs and economic activity in our community. The Governor's office has been a strong advocate in this effort and we will continue our work with them and the Western New York delegation to maintain the current military footprint in Western New York and strengthen the mission moving forward."
U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter said, "The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is of immeasurable value to the Western New York community and to America's national security. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Niagara Falls Air Base is the crown jewel of the Air Force and we need to do everything we can to support the dedicated servicemen and women who work there."
U.S. Representative Paul Tonko said, "The unique capabilities and expertise housed at the 109th Airlift Wing in Schenectady and the Watervliet Arsenal are national treasures, as are the thousands of local jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity that these facilities bring to our region. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for highlighting these important assets in our community and across the state, and I look forward to working with federal, state and local leaders to ensure that these assets stay strong."
U.S. Representative Bill Owens said, "I thank Lieutenant Governor Duffy and Governor Cuomo for their leadership on this issue and I look forward to working with them to keep Fort Drum strong and ensure its role as a preeminent training installation and a significant driver of the region's economic development. Together, we will fight hard to prevent BRAC in Northern New York."
State Senator George D. Maziarz said, "Keeping military installations in New York is of utmost importance, and I applaud the Governor for taking the initiative to fund this study, making sure we are doing everything we can. The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is currently one of Niagara County's largest employers, and any reduction of installations at the base would create a severe hit to the County's economy. This study will help us find every way possible to ensure that we've done everything we can to keep residents employed and bases open."
State Senator Mark Grisanti said, "Our military bases are an important part of New York's State's economy, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in working to ensure these jobs and bases are protected from federal cuts. I look forward to continuing to work together with the Governor and our federal representatives to support military bases here in Western New York."
State Senator Joseph Griffo said, "New York's military installations are a vital part of communities across New York State, providing jobs and opportunities to thousands of our state's residents and supporting local economies. With tight budgetary pressures, we cannot afford a loss of military facilities that would cost New Yorkers jobs and economic security. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of our military installations and his hard work to support them here in our state."
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo for listening to our concerns to protect our military facilities and the local economies and jobs they support. New York's military not only serves abroad, but these bases do a great service to our local communities. As I stated in my letters to the governor, keeping our military facilities open is necessary to keep our state's economy strong and secure. I look forward to working together with the governor so we are in the best possible position when BRAC commences for the next rounds."