New York Small-Business Climate Continues To Slip

New York State’s dismal business climate is getting worse. Recent studies outlined in the following article from the New York Post indicate taxes and fees on small businesses are still a major obstacle to growth, with upstate New York particularly hampered. A recently-released survey found small-business owners are fed up with poor leadership from elected officials.
As a legislator and Minority Leader, I have consistently fought to eliminate needless red tape, reduce taxes and get rid of onerous regulations. New York’s economy depends on its small businesses, and it is unacceptable that Albany’s focus has been on misguided minimum wage hikes and gimmick programs instead of genuine small-business relief.

Albany’s plan for small businesses isn’t helping at all

The pain won’t go away.

New York’s small-business owners aren’t getting any relief, according to a battery of new studies that show efforts to lighten the burden of heavy taxes and fees has generally failed.

Job growth in New York’s upstate region is still among the nation’s worst, the studies found.

From perennially high taxes and levies to red tape and regulation, Albany’s business climate provides few breaks for struggling small-business owners — and its attempts to move the needle in the right direction have been unsuccessful, according to the latest research.

In fact, things are getting worse, the surveys found.

Sensing that leaders are inept or not interested, local business owners are mad as hell.

“New York taxes small businesses to death,” an enraged computer-repair specialist told pollsters for Thumbtack’s just-released annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. “The state makes the process of keeping and working with employees difficult and costly.”

The Empire State is now ranked the fifth-worst in the nation for small-business “friendliness” — a decline from last year, and is similar to the dismal outcome for the Big Apple, which ranked among the bottom third of cities nationwide, according to Thumbtack.

The state garnered a D grade overall this year, down from D+ in 2014; the city scored a C-, down from C last year.

As small business suffer, the economic engine of New York sputters. The mom-and-pop operations, employing as few as three or four people, account for more than half of the state’s private-sector workforce.

But critics of Albany’s tax policies say lawmakers focus tax policies too often on corporate giants who can afford to curry favor from state officials.

“We’ve also seen this in other larger states that have done poorly, like California and Illinois,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist at Thumbtack. “These states do well for the large corporations, but small businesses, I think, are getting ignored — and maybe these larger, wealthier states like New York are taking them for granted.”

While New York plans to spend roughly $1.7 billion on tax breaks and credits this year, and as high as a projected $100 million under its START-UP NY program, critics say the effort misses one very important issue: regulation.

“Small-business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments, but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Lieber. “New York state could do better for these small businesses, who tell us the regulatory environment is making life too hard for solo entrepreneurs to succeed.”

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