More economic optimism this year for Chenango Commerce

By Matt Porter

More economic optimism this year for Chenango Commerce

February 25, 2014 Updated Feb 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM EST

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When Chenango County business owners gathered together at a Chenango Chamber's 16th Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast, the chamber sent a clear message.

"We'd like to see no corporate income tax on manufacturers," said Steve Craig, CEO and President of the Chenango Chamber. "We'd like a refundable tax credit for businesses in Upstate New York, and an immediate expiration to the surcharge on utilities."

The annual breakfast is a chance for local business leaders to discuss economic opportunities for the county as well as revisit previous developments.

The news isn't always positive. Craig mentioned the expected loss of Norwich Aero in 2015.

"They didn't want us, they didn't say what can you do to help us stay," Craig said. "It was just a corporate decision made elsewhere, we will suffer the loss of 120 jobs."

The chamber invited Ken Entenmann, the chief investment officer from NBT Bank, to speak about the slow progress of the economy.

"From our point of view," Entenmann said, "The economy is grudgingly doing better, we're hoping it's going to grow a little bit stronger than it has been."

Entenmann said gridlock in the federal government is mostly to blame for the slow recovery.

"But I think we need to get through some major uncertainties and most of those uncertainties are coming out of Washington DC," he said.

Now that Congress reached a budget deal, local business owners hope it's a sign of change.

"I'm very optimistic," said Patrick MacNeil of MacNeil Jewelers in Norwich. "I feel the economy has a good attitude and the feelings are strong communities are growing."

In 2013, four development projects were pursued in Chenango County to create 50 new jobs and create investments between $5 and $25 million.

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