Start-Up Stalls On Reporting Results

On April 1, the state faced a deadline to release a report enumerating the results of the START-UP NY program. But no such report has been released, which is not surprising considering the abysmal track record this governor has demonstrated with transparency and information sharing. A 2015 report by Comptroller DiNapoli showed an underwhelming 76 jobs were created as a result of the governor’s signature economic development proposal, despite millions of taxpayer dollars spent in advertisements to promote the program.
Frankly, a plan that is so narrowly targeted was never going to raise New York from its place as a national model for high taxes and onerous regulations. To attract businesses to New York, we have to do more than making a handful of college campuses attractive places to operate a business. We have to make the entire state appealing to new and existing businesses.
Unless the 2016 report, which is still inexcusably a secret, shows drastic and substantial improvement (and I sincerely hope that it does), it’s time to re-think the START-UP gimmick and put a greater emphasis on reforms that will truly make New York a desirable business environment.
Last year’s enacted budget did little to help small businesses overcome New York’s terrible business climate. For small business owners, things just went from bad to worse. A ludicrous $15 per hour minimum wage and a new paid family leave program represent two crushing mandates that will force job-creators to cut staff or raises prices.
Time and again New York is ranked as one of the worst business climates, yet broad tax cuts and deregulation, which have a proven record of success for boosting economic activity, are nowhere to be found. Each year the story is the same; businesses are fleeing for greener pastures. We are well past the time for gimmicks.
My Small Business Full Employment Act (A.5898-A) addresses many of the challenges faced by businesses by lowering taxes, curtailing regulatory burdens, incentivizing job creation, and lessening the effects of New York’s longstanding “Tax-Fine-Harass” mentality. This legislation will facilitate real, sustained improvements to our toxic economic climate, and represents a commitment that the business community deserves.
In typical Albany fashion, the governor and leaders of the Senate and Assembly empaneled a “Business Regulation Council” to look at the cost of doing business in New York. As if a ceremonial panel will calm the anger and anxiety of business owners, farmers, and non-profits that were left to navigate through the most anti-business State Budget I’ve seen in 15 years as an Assembly member.   
The Legislature is coming down the home stretch of the 2016 session. It is imperative that over the coming months we provide the necessary relief small businesses deserve. It’s going to take more than a toothless panel. It needs to be more comprehensive than economic-development gimmicks that don’t apply to 99 percent of New York’s businesses. It needs to be more sustainable than competitive grant programs where purse strings are controlled by a single elected official.
If nothing else, the “Business Regulation Council” is an admission that our economic climate is abysmal and that dramatic change is sorely needed. Like the START-UP NY program, New Yorkers have waited long enough to see results.   
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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