It doesn't take a brain surgeon to look at the numbers and figure out we have lost significantly in the last 4 decades. We used to be home to one of the largest regional airlines in the world that flew 50 flights a day. We had a good manufacturing base (General Electric in 2 large locations, Chicago Pneumatic, cloth industry mills to name a few) ... We had a large military airbase that injected over a billion dollars a year into the area. The population in Utica peaked in the 1960s.
Then things changed. Small changes at first, but each took their toll. NY State introduced a sales tax in the mid-1960s. Oneida County thought it was such a good idea that it followed suit in 1980. Coincidentally, that is when our population started dropping and it also marked the beginning of big business exiting the area.
And things have been on the decline ever since. We have suffered both business and population loss that have turned our area from one of the most economical places to live to one of the most expensive in 4 or so decades. Why?
The area suffers from very high taxes compared to income, that's why. We're also over regulated and our utility costs are higher when compared to other areas of the country.
Take a good look at the pictures in this post and ask yourself where they are now. The answer is of course, not here anymore. Oh, GE and CP are still in business, just not here. Mohawk Airlines was gobbled up by bigger airlines and then they left the area. So when you think of why the Mohawk Valley region hasn't flourished in the last 4 decades, it's because business has fled. When business leaves an area, so do people.
4 decades. 40 years of decline. We're being told all is well and we're on the rebound, but realistically folks, you're being fed tall tales. Business has fled taking people with it, and the last decade has not been a era that we will remember as flourishing. Coincidentally, we have had the same County Executive for the last 10 years. Have things gotten better on his watch?
Some of the County Legislators have been there over 25 years. Have things gotten better?
Next: Why the same old same old country-club go-along-to-get-along style of government is not working and why I am running to inject a breath of fresh air onto the 10th floor of the County Office building. Stay tuned ...
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