One of the victims of the recent flooding in the Southern Tier is a company by the name of Synergy Solutions. Synergy recently announced that it is shutting its doors in Johnson City due to significant damage from Tropical Storm Lee. Synergy provides call center services for health care and business organizations and needs to be operational 24 hours – 7 days a week. To remain operational immediately after the flood, they shifted some of their work to other locations in the country.

(Photo Credit - Brett Carlsen, New York Times)

Synergy had been doing well in the Binghamton area. In 2008, the company expanded due to demand growth and “demonstrated superior sales and customer support,” according to Founder and CEO Corey Conklin. There was every reason to be positive about the company’s growth. Lee changed things for many businesses, as we are seeing down here in the Southern Tier.

Synergy representatives cited the costs to relocate to higher ground and other financial considerations in their decision to close. The financial considerations included taxes, energy costs, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance costs. Quite simply – all things being equal – New York is just more expensive than other states.

This closure will result in the loss of 200 local jobs – yet another hit to the Southern Tier.  However, I respect the decisions that businesses have to make to remain operational.  Sadly enough, when you take the flood out of the equation you get a clear picture of what businesses are constantly challenged by – the cost of doing business in New York.

If New York continues to cost more than other states, it will constantly be at risk of losing business – whatever the catalyst may be.  I am confident that the Southern Tier will recover from the devastation of Tropical Storm Lee and our organization will continue to be a positive voice for business in Binghamton.  Stories like Synergy Solutions should provide a clear but painful reminder to Albany, that the best way to keep New York open for business is to simply cost less to be here.