BUDGET MUST STOP THE BLEEDING FROM “1,000 CUTS”
Earlier this week, I testified in front of the Albany County Legislature to urge its members to vote against expanding an unnecessary ban on polystyrene foam food containers. Albany County already prohibits chain restaurants from using polystyrene containers and was considering a proposal to expand the ban to “mom and pop” businesses. Luckily, enough legislators recognized the potential harm the expansion would have on small businesses, both in Albany and across New York, and voted down the measure 21-16.
I am proud to stand up for the job-creating manufacturers in my district and throughout New York that produce the material, and for the restaurants that would have been forced to needlessly switch to another, more expensive alternative. Polystyrene is recycled in dozens of municipalities all over the country. An unnecessary ban would have placed even more pressure on small businesses already overwhelmed by one of the worst business climates in the nation. Last year, the Tax Foundation ranked New York 49th in the nation for its abysmal business tax climate.
Each time additional costs and regulations are forced onto job-creators, the consumer ultimately winds up footing the bill. It’s a lose-lose situation. We must look to relieve the immense pressure small businesses are under, not augment it with senseless regulations.
ALBANY MUST FIGHT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE BUDGET
The proposal in Albany County was an all-too familiar example of killing businesses and New Yorkers with “death by 1,000 cuts.” Elected officials in New York too frequently ignore common-sense and practicality at the expense of superficial, liberal crusades. Protecting the environment is important, but enacting harmful policies under the guise of environmental protection simply to make headlines is irresponsible.
As the state Legislature prepares the upcoming budget, we must be mindful of ways to improve the overall business climate – especially in Upstate New York. The Assembly Minority Conference has consistently fought for thoughtful deregulation, broad-based tax cuts for businesses, and the elimination of cumbersome fees that cripple the economy. The final state budget agreement must:
Implement Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation Reform: According to a recent study, New York State had the third highest workers’ compensation premium rate in the nation in 2016, trailing only California and New Jersey. This cost places a substantial burden on our small businesses, and makes it more difficult for them to succeed in a state that already has high taxes and burdensome regulations. We must reform the workers’ compensation system to reduce rates and help make New York a more affordable place to do business.
Cut Income Taxes for Small Businesses: As the state comptroller has mentioned, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 97.4 percent of New York State businesses. Unfortunately, recent policies imposed by Albany have attempted to pick winners and losers, while failing to recognize the important role small businesses play in job creation. Across-the-board tax reductions for our small businesses will help to create a level playing field that will allow new and existing small businesses to grow in all regions of the state.
I was encouraged to see a number of Assembly Minority proposals included in both the Senate and Assembly Majorities’ budget resolutions. These measures provide local businesses with the freedom to stimulate the job market and strengthen our economy. As we ramp up budget negotiations in the coming weeks, we must be certain to protect the backbone of our economy— small businesses.