I generally support the proposal for a Photonics Institute in Western NY, but I am uncertain of its impact. I don’t think the most educated and experienced expert could predict with certainty if it will exceed expectations or fall short, but it is worth a try. Certainly a large investment will create jobs for some workers at least in the short term. Tom Reed wrote:
The investment will fuel job creation across the region, and the country, by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars from public, private and non-profit sources into the high-tech manufacturing field of photonics. Total public and private investment in the Photonics Institute is expected to exceed $600 million, with roughly $110 million being derived from the U.S. Department of Defense.
One concern is funding. What will be shortchanged to provide the needed funds?
- Defense spending is currently limited by sequester. Will they take the money from military readiness programs, from services for veterans, or from domestic programs?
- Will the NYS money be taken from state aid for education?
- Is the private funding committed or merely anticipated.
“By starting this investment now, we are going to see long term job growth throughout the region and for generations to come,” said Reed.
How could Tom, who is no expert, be sure of that? It could happen if the Photonics Institute is successful, but there is no guarantee of that.
The grant is expected to expand existing manufacturing sites such as the SUNY Poly Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center campus in Canandaigua. It is expected this site will become home to a new assembly and packaging facility for photonics technologies.
There is nothing wrong with good jobs for high-tech workers, but workers with ordinary jobs need higher wages. We should not be satisfied with a two-tier economy where many low wage workers struggle while others enjoy high pay subsidized by government. If Tom Reed really cared about the welfare of his constituents, he would do more to help those struggling to get by with low pay.
In any case, I hope the Photonics Institute is successful.