By Ryan Delaney
Central New York's congressman has marked his first 100 days back in office by laying out a blueprint for jobs and the economy.
Rep. Dan Maffei, a Democrat from the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt, returned to Congress this year after serving one term and then being ousted for one.
Maffei spent much of his time during the past few months touring local companies and hosting a listening tour with small business owners. He says the middle class is the driving force of his district's economy.
Maffei presented a few keys to rebuilding upstate's economy at a press conference in Syracuse Monday. They are:
-Invest in small business
-Education and workforce development
-Improve infrastructure and transportation
-Utilize our competitive advantage
Maffei was joined by economic development officials and a transportation expert to discuss some of the areas.
The congressman's district includes a portion of Oswego County, which has a 12.2 percent unemployment rate, one of the highest in the state. New York also has an 18 percent unemployment rate for people under the age of 25.
"We have to make higher education available. And that doesn't just mean tradition liberal arts college. It can also mean various kinds of training, trades, apprenticeships," Maffei said.
He pointed to agriculture or tourism as industries that could boost employment for young people.
One idea Maffei floated Monday was a paperwork holiday or startup businesses.
"Because in that first year is when you have the least amount of time to filling out all these things and quite frankly you don't even know all the answers that they're asking for; you just started your business," he said.
Maffei says he also supports a payroll tax holiday for startup businesses.