SIENA SURVEY SAYS: IT’S TIME FOR BUSINESS CLIMATE CHANGE
The Siena College Research Institute recently released the results of its annual survey of upstate business leaders. The poll results were interesting, not only because of the insights provided, but because it represents the views and voices of business leaders. We hear enough political speeches and redundant rhetoric about the state’s business climate. It is critical that we pay attention to the men and women who create jobs, bolster our local economies and have an in-depth knowledge of the challenges that exist.
For years, Albany has provided nothing to the state’s businesses other than taxes, fees and regulations. The pattern has resulted in one of the nation’s worst business climates, a fact not lost on the business leaders who operate in New York. The Siena survey produced some alarming feedback:
- 64 percent of upstate businesses believe New York is doing a poor job of creating a business climate in which companies can succeed, an increase of 9 percent from 2012.
- Upstate business confidence is at its lowest point since 2012, with 87 percent of businesses stating they have little-to-no confidence that state government will improve the climate for businesses over the next year.
- When asked to consider all the factors that go into locating a business in New York, 67 percent of upstate businesses said they would have located somewhere else if they had to do it all over again.
- Governmental regulation ranked as the #1 challenge facing upstate businesses.
- 87 percent of upstate businesses surveyed oppose increasing the minimum wage for all workers to $15 per hour.
HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES SUCCEED
Instead of forcing more politically-driven policies – like the $15 per hour minimum wage – on the backs of job creators, Albany must focus its efforts to eliminate the obstacles faced by businesses and enact broad-based tax cuts that will facilitate the necessary improvements to our economic environment. My Small Business Full Employment Act will provide:
- Personal Income Tax Exemption: Provides a 15 percent Personal Income Tax exemption for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
- Employee Retainment Tax Credit: A tiered tax credit against the Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Corporate Franchise Tax (CFT) for businesses with at least one and fewer than 100 employees that maintain their employment levels for one year. The credits range from $1,000 to $5,000.
- Hire-NY Tax Credit: Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees would be eligible for a $5,000 tax credit against the PIT and CFT for each new job created.
- Sales Tax Amnesty Program: Creates a sales tax amnesty program for struggling small businesses recently audited and fined by the Department of Taxation and Finance. It would be a limited-time opportunity allowing businesses to pay a defined amount in exchange for forgiveness of a tax liability.
- Tuition Assistance Tax Credit: Employees who agree to work with an employer for a specified number of years would be eligible to have their college tuition paid for by their employer. In turn, the employer would be awarded a 25 percent tax credit or up to $5,000 annually.
Small Business Regulatory Relief
- Division of Regulatory Review & Economic Growth: Would make binding recommendations to eliminate onerous regulations. It would also require a small- business economic impact statement prior to the passage of any rule or regulation impacting small businesses; a regulatory flexibility analysis prior to the adoption of proposed regulations to minimize adverse impacts on small businesses; and require a periodic review of rules and regulations to determine whether such rules should continue without change, be amended or rescinded.
- Small Business Regulatory Amnesty Program: Allows small businesses to remedy rules or regulation violations within six months to avoid financial penalties.
As the state’s only legislative leader who has owned and run a business, the feedback from upstate business leaders comes as no surprise. The challenges are real and they are significant. Unfortunately, to date, Albany’s response has been anything but.
Assemblyman Brian Kolb is the Assembly Minority Leader and he welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.