The New York Power Authority, shaking off the objections of two Western New York assemblymen, approved using more than $5.4 million in proceeds from the sale of unallocated hydropower to fund the Launch NY program to aid start-up businesses.
Power Authority trustees on Tuesday approved the funding for Launch NY, a state-sponsored initiative to assist start-up companies that also will conduct the nationwide business plan competition that is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative.
Assemblymen Robin L. Schimminger, D-Kenmore, and Dennis Gabryszak, D-Cheektowaga, last week urged the Power Authority board to back away from a decision by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board to provide funding for Launch NY, arguing that the initiative did not meet the eligibility criteria set for the $23 million in power proceeds funds.
Howard Zemsky, the Buffalo developer who is co-chairman of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, said Launch NY fits within the council’s plans to encourage entrepreneurship within the region, which in turn, could stimulate job growth.
“NYPA’s award of Western New York Power Allocation funds is consistent with the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council strategies and priorities, and today’s approval demonstrates that,” Zemsky said in a statement.