Time To Take Care Of The Business At Hand

One-party rule in New York isn’t likely to improve conditions where we need it the most – improving the state’s notoriously toxic business climate. For years, the needs and concerns of job-creating businesses have taken a back seat to pricey gimmicks and giveaways that have failed to deliver promised economic energy.
I spoke to the Business Council of New York State, Inc. this week, and it was a simple message – Albany has not done nearly enough to help our home-grown businesses.
Consider this: in 2016, Gov. Cuomo and legislative majorities formed the Business Regulation Council, a group charged with recommending ways to make the state friendly for job creators. In reality, this was nothing more than an attempt to ease the business community’s widespread anger after the $15/hour minimum wage hike was passed.
The Business Regulation Council put out 26 recommendations. Two and half years later, only three have been implemented. Ironically, that’s exactly the number of upstate casinos that were selected, sited and built in roughly the same amount of time.
Our bottom-of-the-barrel rankings on important economic measurements are well-chronicled. Various reports have graded New York as: 48th worst business tax climate; 48th for business friendliness, 50th for tax climate, 2nd-worst debt burden, and on and on.
Whatever positive economic development gains we see are far too heavily tilted downstate. Between 2011 and 2018, New York state added 984,000 private-sector jobs, but only 19 percent of those landed upstate. In that same span, a total of 184,400 jobs were created upstate, while Brooklyn alone saw 164,000. Fully 22 upstate counties have not yet recovered the jobs lost during the 2009 recession.
Desperate corporate handouts make good headlines but don’t replace permanent, comprehensive policy. Despite the governor’s claims, New York is in very bad shape. Simply put, we are not competitive with the rest of the nation.
The business climate will not improve unless we lift the crushing taxes businesses face. I, alongside members of the Assembly Minority Conference, sponsored the Small Business Full Employment Act (A.5423) to provide tax and regulatory relief to small businesses, an important first step toward making macro improvements to the state’s economic outlook. The governor needs to realize, small businesses—not global, multi-billion dollar corporations—provide jobs for more than half of the workers in this state.  
Our Conference is also calling for much-needed economic development oversight, regulatory relief, a permanent real property tax cap and a statutory spending cap. These measures, working in concert with one another, will correct the fundamental flaws in our business climate and economy. Putting more money in the pockets of our business owners, reducing mandates that hinder growth with no tangible benefit and facilitating job growth in every part of New York are required to stop the economic skid Gov. Cuomo has ignored.  
The Legislature is preparing to reconvene and begin our important work improving the quality of life for New York’s residents. It is vital we look toward the job creators, the economic drivers and the backbone of our economy—our business owners—as we start work anew in 2019.
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 kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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