Rx for Rust Belt Cities: Get Government $$!

by Mark Krikorian

The lead NYT op-ed today is about how Rochester has prospered despite the decline of Eastman Kodak, formerly the city’s marquee employer. I’m delighted Rochester is prospering and wish its inhabitants all future success. But in laying out the reasons, the author, a professor at the University of Rochester, keeps coming back to the same source:

Over the last five years it [the university] has received more than $1.9 billion in research money, most of it from the federal government, which has in turn fueled local growth beyond the campus gates. …

The state and federal governments have been a big help, too. In 2006, the region around Rochester received a four-year federal Department of Labor grant to finance economic development initiatives — which in turn paved the way for almost $70 million in projects awarded in 2011 from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. …

Moreover, universities provide stability in a rough economy by drawing in state and federal dollars, which can compensate for the decline of a major employer…

He does acknowledge at the end, though, that:

Of course, private companies need to be part of the game as well.

I was hoping that would come up eventually.