Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a big boost to the local work force at Geico on Tuesday. The insurance giant says it will add 600 jobs over the next six years at the Crosspoint Business Park.
"These are jobs that they could've added anywhere in the .U.S. and they picked Buffalo," Cuomo said.
The new jobs will add to the more than 2,500 jobs Geico has already created here in Western New York. The total investment by Geico is expected to be about $15 million.
According to Geico executives the company also looked at beefing up staff in other locations but ultimately decided to do so in Western New York because, in part, of the state's $4 million incentive.
"It was helpful but I don't believe it was a determinant because this is a major investment for Geico," Cuomo said. "It's not the reason for our expansion," added Geico CEO, Tony Nicely. "It helped of course."
According to Cuomo, subsidies are becoming essential to New York job growth. State are willing to do a lot to entice private development. The process is private. So, New York doesn't know what Texas, for example, might be willing to offer.
"They might say: we'll charge you no taxes. We'll get you a building," Cuomo said. "It's a highly competitive market for these private sector jobs and states now literally are in competition."
Still some, including N.Y. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, question why tax dollars are being used to fund private development. In an audit released in 2015, DiNapoli criticized similar spending and said it didn't deliver "tangible results."
"I think he's dead wrong and he should educate himself in the area," Cuomo responded.
Geico has become one of the largest private-sector employers in Amherst.
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