continued Frazier was also confident in new jobs being attracted to the region through emerging industries.
“Upstate New York for a long, long time had been struggling,” Frazier said. “We need to seize the opportunities we have in high tech growth.”
Nichols also agreed with the progress made in the area and said “a lot more” needs to be done to help people trying to start small businesses and support existing ones.
“Small businesses are where most of the jobs are really created,” Nichols said. “We need to … do what we can to take away some of the state regulations and restraints that keep them from growing.”
Steck took a different approach and said the state needs fully to take on the local Medicaid costs, so revenue becomes available for economic development projects.
“Without access to capital that local businesses can have there will not be any improvements in our economic situation no matter how much we talk about high-tech.”
Tackling a different aspect of jobs, all of the candidates supported increasing the minimum wage and believed it would improve the state’s economy.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has proposed increasing the minimum wage to $8.50 starting January 2013 and also indexing it from the start of 2014 to adjust it according to the Consumer Price Index.
Nichols expressed support for Silver’s indexing plan and called the current minimum wage level “appalling.” Landry agreed and said it is “way too low” and supported indexing it.
Frazier echoed Landry and said, “We know that money will get pumped right back into our economy and give it a short in the arm it really needs.”
Steck said increasing the purchasing power of the workers is key to the state’s economic growth.
Whalen said the current minimum wage, at $7.25, is an “embarrassing” amount to pay someone.