By J.L. KOMINICKI
Yay. We’re first at something.
Low-paying jobs in the hospitality sector.
OK, that’s not quite the message Gov. Andrew Cuomo was putting out ahead of the July 4 weekend, but you don’t have to squint hard to find the ugly truth in his latest press release.
What he wanted us to read was that New York posted a record $100 billion in tourism-related economic activity last year and retained its position, ahead of Florida and California and for 14 straight years, as the go-to spot for overseas visitors.
In all, almost 10 million foreign visitors came to New York last year, which, if you’ve ever been in Times Square in July, actually seems low.
“A stronger tourism industry in New York means more jobs and more economic activity in local communities,” Cuomo said in his statement. “That’s why growing this critically important industry has been a top priority of this administration – an effort that, as this new data demonstrates, has been effective.”
(The Guv also announced the kick-off of the summer I Heart NY ad campaign, which this year features former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the Mets’ David Wright and, speaking of low-paying jobs, Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer.)
Not that we should walk away from the $100 billion. But creating tourism jobs should not be a top priority of the Cuomo administration. Especially since those jobs are to guarantee the need for public assistance, which 60 percent of restaurant workers in New York State already get.
I would Heart NY a lot more if the governor’s focus was on creating jobs in the innovation space, especially in biotechnology and clean energy, which have been showing so much recent promise on Long Island.
Until then, be nice to the tourists.