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The Buffalo blues


For years, there's been a polite rivalry between Rochester and the Queen City. With its brand-name companies, Rochester was viewed by many as the white-collar town, while Buffalo was the steel town.

And when Buffalo's financial management soured so badly that the city was put under state oversight, there were more than a few snickers heard in Rochester.

But many Rochesterians aren't laughing now. And as reports of Buffalo's resurgence become more common, some fairly prominent Rochesterians are crying foul.

The Buffalo-Niagara region gets more state aid than Rochester at a time when Rochester desperately needs the help, they say. An example: one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's most lauded announcements in 2012 was $1 billion in financial aid to breathe new life into Buffalo.

The money is being provided over a period of years. Still for some that has led to one question: What about Rochester?

State Assembly member Joe Morelle says he's heard the complaint many times, but the perception doesn't match the reality.

"A lot of what the governor has done in Buffalo is as much talking about Buffalo as it is giving them resources," Morelle says. "The governor said, 'Let's focus on Buffalo, let's talk it up, and let's get some buzz going about it. And we'll get this thing lit like kindling.'"

Morelle says that while Buffalo has received more state financial aid than Rochester, it's not much more. When you add the money that the city's received for Eastman Business Park, Midtown, the University of Rochester, and Rochester Institute of Technology, he says, Rochester's financial aid is almost on par with Buffalo's.

And Morelle says that Cuomo plans to draw similar public attention to Rochester and the Finger Lakes region soon.

"I don't think the governor is getting enough credit for what he's doing [for Rochester]," Morelle says.