June 12, 2009

Gillibrand Takes Action to Reauthorize Syracuse Empowerment Zone to Revitalize Economy, Create Jobs

Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Enhancement Act Will Help Save and Create Jobs, Attract New Businesses, Increase Wages for Syracuse

Washington, D.C. - As part of a broad agenda to create jobs and revitalize New York's economy, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation this week to save and create jobs in Syracuse. The Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Enhancement Act of 2009, sponsored by Senator Blanche Lincoln, would continue efforts to promote revitalization and economic development through 2015.

"Creating good-paying jobs right here in New York is my top priority," Senator Gillibrand said. "The Empowerment Zone has been critical for the revitalization of Syracuse. During these tough economic times, we must provide the tools and resources our communities need to promote growth, create jobs, and attract businesses. This program is an essential part of our long term economic development efforts."

The Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community program attracts and retains businesses through tax and regulatory relief, social services, and community redevelopment. It was established through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help create new jobs, rebuild infrastructure and attract new businesses to communities that have experienced the worst of economic downturns.

The Syracuse Empowerment Zone has used this program to provide federal wage-based tax incentives to help save 1,131 jobs, including 960 jobs by keeping AXA Financial Services in its regional headquarters in Syracuse, and another 171 jobs by keeping the Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield customer service center in Syracuse.

However, the benefits of the Syracuse Empowerment Zone are set to expire at the end of this year. Senator Gillibrand is working to pass the Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Enhancement Act of 2009, which would allow Syracuse to continue these economic revitalization efforts.

Senator Gillibrand's number one priority is creating jobs and rebuilding New York's economy. Earlier this year, she helped pass President Obama's economic recovery plan, which will create or save over 200,000 jobs right here in New York, while laying the foundation for future economic growth with investments in infrastructure, health care technology, renewable energy and education.