Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still playing chicken when it comes to Republican challenger Marc Molinaro’s call for a debate upstate, and it’s easy to see why: The governor has utterly failed the people of much of New York.

To those who don’t get north of the city’s suburbs, Cuomo’s talk of an “even” economic recovery across the state may sound fine. But a new report from the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon highlights the ugly facts.

Since the Great Recession, New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley have done fine. But the Empire State’s other counties have seen the weakest recovery of any US region.

Overall, these 48 counties saw a drop in employment “by a combined total of 87,500 from August 2010 to August 2018,” McMahon notes. Yes, the unemployment rate fell, but only because “the labor force in those counties decreased by 210,100 people.”

That’s hundreds of thousands of people who’ve given up on looking for work — or moved out of state to find it.

Hardest hit has been the Southern Tier — counties along the Marcellus Shale that should have seen an influx of good jobs from fracking.

Except that Cuomo banned fracking — in use safely all across the country — on pseudoscientific grounds because he wanted to score with the green extreme as he eyes his 2020 White House run.

Instead, he’s offered those ridiculous road signs and other lame efforts to boost tourism, plus a few casinos — and the billions dropped on his AndyLand “economic development” white elephants.

None of that turned the upstate economy around — but it did reward his fat-cat developer and “gaming industry” donors.

No wonder the gov insisted on having city-based reporters pose the questions when he debated Molinaro: He doesn’t dare face his real record.

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.