Cuomo Kicks Off Economic Race-to-the-Top

grand front e1321281668153 Cuomo Kicks Off Economic Race to the Top

Never forget the Cuba Cheese Museum.

If the Cuomo administration has been adhering to austerity in its first year, that is because there is a smaller pie to carve up, as the governor keeps reminding New Yorkers. But he was also taking his time because the money is meant to go where it can actually do real work, according to The Times, and that takes time to figure out. The Paper of Record calls the program “American Idol for policy wonks and economic development types.” Submissions for the 10 regional councils are due today.

The theory behind the process is that rather than doling out pork ad hoc; the usual default positions behind stadiums, convention centers and cobblestone downtown streets; and infamous sinkholes like the New York State Museum of Cheese, state support for economic development should flow from a realistic, on-the-ground assessment of regional economies, resources and opportunities.

How much this proves to be an abstract exercise and how much it produces actual jobs remains to be seen. Still, almost everyone involved in the process and many outside it give Mr. Cuomo high marks for his framework for something that could prove more difficult than his earlier successes with legalizing same-sex marriage and passing a tough state budget.

“There is a sense that postrecession, we need a radically different kind of growth model that is not investing in the wrong things, and New York is in the vanguard of this,” said Bruce Katz, an expert on state economic development strategies at the Brookings Institution.

No more bridges to nowhere, then.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC