The chairman of Advanced Micro Devices wants to come to the Capital Region within the next month, according to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and the Senate leader expects him to bring positive news about the company’s plans to build a computer chip manufacturing plant in Saratoga County.
Bruno said in a speech Thursday to the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce that AMD Chairman and CEO Hector Ruiz called him Wednesday and expressed condolences over the death last week of Bruno’s wife, Barbara. Bruno said later that Ruiz gave him the impression he would be bringing positive news about AMD’s plans. AMD has had financial setbacks in recent years and has not finally committed to building the state-subsidized plant, for which Ruiz, Bruno and other state leaders announced plans in 2006. The Luther Forest factory would be in Bruno’s Senate district, in the towns of Malta and Stillwater.
Bruno, who was making his first public appearance since his wife’s memorial service, told the chamber that he will fight to ensure that the Capital Region is not neglected in Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s new push to revive the upstate economy.
He also made no apologies for directing economic development aid over the years to the Capital Region. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, has been doing the same thing for New York City, Bruno said, adding: “Yes, it’s the way things work. … We are not going to rest on our laurels in the Capital Region.”
While building on the economic success of this area, Bruno said, the state should adopt the same model across the rest of upstate. On the national level, he said, New York has lost 16 congressional seats over the past half century and is likely to lose two more after the next U.S. Census. Those members of Congress now represent other states, and direct federal aid there, he said.
Asked where the money would come from to redevelop upstate, Bruno said he would wait to respond to Spitzer’s budget proposal next week, but stimulating the economy and creating jobs would itself generate revenue for the state. Echoing Spitzer, Bruno said the state needs to do for upstate now what it did in the 1970s for New York City, which almost went bankrupt at that time.
Later Thursday, Spitzer Budget Director Laura Anglin said the budget gap for the 2008-09 fiscal year is now estimated at $4.4 billion, up from $4.3 billion. The governor’s budget, to be announced Tuesday, will have proposals to plug that gap, some of which have been previously announced. They include closing some prison camps, such as the one at Mount McGregor in Saratoga County (but not the medium-security prison there). A hiring freeze is not anticipated, she said.
Bruno said the governor must do more than talk about redeveloping upstate, saying he has failed to engage with the Senate on its Upstate Now plan introduced last year or to implement an agreement with the Legislature on capital spending announced last July.
Still, he said, “I applaud the governor” for going to Buffalo this week to deliver a State of Upstate address.
Bruno said that as a businessman, he represented a break from the tradition of having lawyers serve as leaders of the Senate and is keenly aware of the need to work with businesses and colleges to create jobs.
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Categories: Schenectady County