The news broke today about Dick’s Sporting Goods (stock symbol DKS) return to New York State and the Southern Tier. But amid the big smiles and Gov. Cuomo patting himself on the back, a question seemed necessary to ask that the major media has not asked.
Here is the exact comment as found on Facebook, July 19, 2016:
“So call me a cynic, but I find it odd that Dick’s Sporting Goods is making a move to Binghamton suddenly. And it is sudden.
Dick’s abandoned the Southern Tier and NY in 1994 for lower taxes, easier regulations and a tax credit deal in PA. At the time they had 12 stores. The combination of benefits that the progressive New York would not provide led to an expansion to 47 States, joining the stock exchange, and more than 740 stores. The Stack family reaped tens of millions each (Kim Myers is now worth roughly $70 million because of this).
With every expansion, stock listing, and overall growth, NYS and especially Broome County has tried to bring back Dick’s to NY for 22 years. The State and Southern Tier got a golf tournament instead (though an important economic boon by itself).
But now, when NYS is the least business friendly State, when 600,000 residents, thousands of jobs, and over $5 billion in tax revenue have left the State, Dick’s decides its time to come back. In COMPLETELY unrelated (or so some would like us to believe) news, Kim Myers is running for Congress.
Just when Gov. Cuomo needs a boost because he spent over $50 million of taxpayer money to create 408 jobs, just when the underdog Kim Myers is trying to gain a Democrat seat in Congress in one of the few Republican strongholds in NY. After 22 years of rejecting NYS – including Gov. Cuomo and his efforts up until today.
Does NY and the Southern Tier need 450 jobs and an economic infusion of $100 million? Without question. But these kinds of actions don’t happen without reason. The only reason that has changed is a family member of Dick’s is running for federal elected office. Which makes this seem like an attempt to buy a political seat.
Maybe Dick’s was going to do this anyway. Except there was no one speaking about the deal in any political circle. It was the best kept secret in NY and the Southern Tier. In a State of leaks and massive political chatter, this was unspoken.
Also note the timing for the future. The construction and the jobs won’t actually arrive until 2018. Just in time for a re-election campaign, assuming that Kim Myers were to do the unlikely and win the congressional seat. I can’t help but look at this deal and conclude that someone is trying to buy a congressional seat.
Perception is everything in politics. Gov. Cuomo looks like a hero by bringing back Dick’s to the Southern Tier. By association, Kim Myers looks like a hero because Dick’s is back and jobs are on the way – as if she was a genius to help engineer or influence this (though if that were true, why did she wait 22 years to help the Southern Tier?).
At the same time, the perception is that there is more to this deal than the big smiles of some Democrats. I could be wrong, but then the question remains, why did Dick’s wait 22 years only to act at a time when EVERY business in NYS is leaving or considering doing so?