September 28, 2011

High-Tech Companies To Invest $4 Billion In New York State, Cuomo Says

By: Thomas Kaplan

Source: New York Times

ALBANY — I.B.M. and four other technology companies agreed Tuesday to pour $4 billion into computer-chip research in New York, promising to hire thousands of workers and giving a major boost to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as he campaigns for companies to invest in the state and create jobs.

Mr. Cuomo, sounding downright giddy as he kicked off an economic development conference here, heralded the investment as a “really, really big deal” that proved that New York, especially upstate, could lure new investment from major corporations flush with potential suitors.

His announcement came as former President Bill Clinton, whom Mr. Cuomo served as housing secretary, made an appearance at the conference and urged business leaders and local officials to embrace environmentally friendly technology and new industries as they try to create jobs.

The computer-chip investment deal will be led by I.B.M., which will invest $3.6 billion, and will also include Intel, Samsung, GlobalFoundries and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. The governor’s office said it would create 2,500 high-technology jobs and 1,900 construction jobs, and would also preserve 2,500 existing jobs.

“I think it’s important to remember, as we start this conference — a better affirmation of our potential you could not have,” Mr. Cuomo said. “These companies could have gone anywhere on the globe.”

Over the past two decades, New York State has invested heavily in the burgeoning nanotechnology industry, primarily in the capital region. Mr. Cuomo and others have highlighted the effort as a model for regional economic development in the economically depressed upstate region.

The state will spend $400 million over five years as part of the new research deal. The money will go toward expanding the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany, and the investment by the technology companies will go toward creating jobs in Albany, Yorktown Heights, East Fishkill, Utica and Canandaigua.

Mr. Cuomo and other lawmakers said they hoped that the new research and development activities would lead to the construction of chip plants in several years, creating many more jobs, and would also serve as an example to other companies that New York was increasingly attractive to major corporations seeking to invest in research and high-technology manufacturing facilities.

“It’s huge for the message, and it’s huge for the jobs that go with it,” the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who has been a booster of the nanotechnology sector in the capital region, said in an interview.

In his speech, Mr. Clinton, citing San Diego’s success with biotechnology and the computer simulation business in Orlando, Fla., suggested that the capital region could similarly exploit its nanotechnology industry to turn around its economic fortunes.

Mr. Clinton focused mostly on giving economic-development tips: he particularly encouraged pursuing jobs related to clean energy sources and retrofitting buildings to be more energy-efficient. But he also offered a dollop of praise for the governor and lawmakers for their handling of the state’s budget gap last winter, suggesting that Mr. Cuomo’s fiscal stewardship would help encourage businesses to invest here.

“I travel all over America and all over the world, and the confidence people have in New York outside this state has exploded just because the government did its job,” Mr. Clinton said. “They showed up, passed the budget on time, didn’t raise taxes — it’s an amazing, amazing thing for you.”