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By Howard Zemsky

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s unique approach to economic development empowered our region to develop a strategy for prosperity. He implored us to stop dwelling on disappointments and to start charting a new future. He urged us to work collaboratively and he gave us extraordinary and previously unimaginable tools to make it happen.

The governor’s latest on-time budget is another step in the right direction. The governor wisely recognizes that we have to compete with other states to attract and retain businesses and jobs. I applaud the package of tax relief in the budget. From cutting taxes on manufacturers to zero, to reducing the corporate tax rate, to reducing surcharges, to bringing New York’s uncompetitive estate tax into line with that of other states, the governor continues to improve the competitiveness of our state and region.

We have seen that Buffalo is on the move, fueled by increased confidence, by collaboration, by private investment, by the Buffalo Billion, by tax cuts and tax credits and by our own plan that builds on our community’s strengths. With investments in the areas of advanced manufacturing, life sciences and tourism, among others, we are witnessing the kind of economic change that so many had given up on long ago.

The Buffalo Billion is investing in advanced manufacturing with the Buffalo High-Tech manufacturing Innovation Hub @ RiverBend and the Advanced Manufacturing Institute. We are seeing investment in life sciences with Albany Molecular Research Inc., on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. IBM recently announced it will bring 500 high-paying jobs to the new Buffalo Information and Technologies Innovation Hub in downtown Buffalo. Indeed the governor’s focus on next-generation industries will play a key role in supporting our economy now and for generations.

Entrepreneurs see an opportunity to put their businesses on the map by participating in the $5 million business plan competition known as 43North, the largest business plan competition in the world. This Buffalo Billion initiative is creating a national and international buzz by attracting the brightest business minds to our region.

Start-Up NY is an important part of the region’s road map for economic success. This initiative further utilizes our SUNY campuses, and creates tax-free zones to attract and grow new businesses and jobs.

Only a few short years ago, none of us would have imagined this kind of traction in our economy, this kind of renewed confidence in our future and the kind of unprecedented commitment to our region from Cuomo that we have enjoyed in recent years.

Can you stand finally being the envy of so many regions in our state? I can.

Howard Zemsky is co-chairman of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.