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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Buffalo-Rochester Fight

Some will undoubtedly say that State Sen. Joseph Robach was politicking this week when he quarreled with his colleagues over state aid for Rochester. (Forgive the self-serving link.) And, undoubtedly, politics were at play.

You can say this, however: At least here was a member of our state delegation showing passion about helping his hometown. And who can argue with the logic? Buffalo and Rochester are similar cities in many ways, yet Buffalo generates one-third more in per-capita state aid.

The notion that you have to steal from Buffalo to give to Rochester seems goofy. In the scope of a $108 billion state budget, surely there's a way to find a $20 million to $25 million or more. Just for context, that amount is 0.022% of the state's projected revenues, or two one-hundredths of a percent. Let's be even more conservative: The $25 million is just six-tenths of a percent of the projected year-end surplus.

Yes, I know there are demands from all over New York for more money. But across the 343-page fiscal plan, there's got to be some way to find wasteful or unproductive spending and redirect it toward one of the state's largest cities.

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