Current Issues

Summary of Approved New York State Budget for State Fiscal Year 2023

Last week the state legislature returned to Albany to begin the end of the 2022 legislative session. With only 12 days left in this year’s session, your Greene County Chamber of Commerce Team will continue to advocate for important and needed action to help ensure our businesses can grow in a more friendly environment. We continue to work with the Legislature and Governor’s Office to get more positive initiatives passed to help our businesses, economy and communities thrive.

I wanted to share with you that there was some good news in the final New York State budget recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

Because of your support and involvement in the Chamber, our voice to our elected officials is strong. If you have an issue you’d like to bring to our attention, please contact our office.  – Jeff Friedman, President/Executive Director

The Good News:

  • UAlbany - $75 million to complete the construction of UAlbany’s downtown College of Engineering and Applied Sciences campus and to expand Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.
  • Offshore Wind - $500 million for supply chain and port infrastructure related to the offshore wind industry.
  • Small Business Tax Relief - Most small businesses are set up as pass-through entities, and as such pay the majority of their business income tax under the personal income tax. The budget expands the business income exclusion under the personal income tax from 5 percent to 15 percent; makes the exclusion available for members, partners, and shareholders of LLCs, partnerships, and sub-S corps, in addition to sole proprietors as under current law. It is applicable for taxpayers with net farm income under $250,000, and other small businesses with gross income under $1.5 million.
  • TAP - $150 million to expand the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to part time students. This will provide these students with access to effective training courses to upskill in their current careers.
  • Community Colleges - Establishes a funding floor to protect community colleges from a $80 million loss due to declining enrollment.
  • Brownfield Cleanup Program - 10-year extension of the Brownfield Cleanup Program which encourages private-sector cleanups of brownfields and to promote their redevelopment to revitalize economically blighted Page 2 of 3 communities. However, over our objections, a $50,000 fee for those admitted to the program has been included.
  • Market/Shovel Ready Sites - $300 million in funding to develop sites that will attract high-tech manufacturing, particularly semiconductor manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and logistics businesses to the state. These investments will develop sites to make New York State a more competitive place to locate and expand a business, helping New York usher in a new era of market-ready infrastructure.
  • Alcohol-to-Go - Extends for 3 years the ability of restaurant and bars to provide alcohol-to-go with substantial food orders.
  • REDC and DRI - provides over $1 billion in new economic and community development funding across several programs, including Round XII of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards and a sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The Bad News:

  • Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund – Unfortunately, the Governor and the Legislature took no action to address the depleted UI Trust Fund. This inaction will impact all New York State employers and consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic completely upended the Unemployment Insurance system. New York State’s decision to shut down “non-essential businesses” and impose restrictions resulted in massive layoffs. The private sector shed more than 1.7 million jobs in March 2020, driving unemployment from 4.4 percent to 16.2 percent. Extraordinary amounts of money flowed out of New York’s UI Trust Fund to satisfy claims, causing the State to borrow more than $11 billion from the federal government. The outstanding loan and completely depleted UI Trust Fund have forced all employers into the highest employer contribution rates Page 3 of 3 allowable under New York’s UI tax tables, meaning all businesses are paying the highest possible UI tax rate related to the fund balance. With $9.3 billion outstanding on the state’s federal UI advance, New York employers are subject to these highest rates for a decade or more. If not addressed by 2025, employers will face rate increase of 45 to 250 percent.

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Chamber Legislative Agenda:

 Top Priorities

Business Climate Improvement: The Chamber will advocate for regulatory reforms that will improve the state’s current business climate. Current state policies are causing businesses and employees to out-migrate. Unless meaningful action is taken, New York State’s business competitiveness and our ability to attract and retain talent will not improve.

 

Education/Talent Development: Employers rely on a qualified and diverse workforce to successfully operate. A skilled and inclusive workforce is therefore critical to regional job growth and prosperity. The Chamber supports education policies, school funding, and workforce development initiatives that are available to all students and employees at all levels so that they are ready to enter and re-enter the job market

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Taxes/Regulations/Government

  • Property Tax Reform – Support a permanent property tax cap and include a reduction in the burden of unfunded state mandates on counties and localities as well as school districts.
  • Support the reduction of burdensome, outdated and complex business taxes.
  • State Mandate Funding – support legislation that would require that all future state mandates or state mandated programs imposed on counties, municipalities or school districts must be funded by the state or not be imposed.
  • Support regulatory reform that reduces the unfunded mandates on not-for-profit organizations, an essential and substantial component of the area’s economy;
  • Support policies that promote the sharing economy and creative economy to ensure New York State’s competitiveness in these innovative marketplaces;
  • Business Climate Improvement – Tax Reform – Permanent Tax Cap & mandate relief, Reduction in personal income tax rates, repeal Wick’s Law.
  • Scaffold Law Reform –Support reforms to the Scaffold Law, which imposes absolute liability on employers and property owners when construction workers are injured in elevation-related accidents, regardless of whether the worker refused to use safety equipment or was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Any reform must adopt a comparative negligence standard which will level the playing field and reduce costs for businesses, farms, municipalities, school districts, and ultimately taxpayers. The cost of this outdated law to taxpayers is $785M/year & Business is $1.4B/year.

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Education/Workforce Development

  • Workforce Development Funding- a well trained workforce is vital to a competitive business climate. We would like to see more funding to support workforce development programs and initiatives.
  • Workforce Attraction- promote programs to bring new residents to upstate to work and live.
  • Affordable Workforce Housing – create programs that provide funding and incentives to developers to construct affordable housing for moderate income families in the workforce.
  • State Funding for School Districts– create a fair and equitable system for funding our school districts
  • Support increasing funding for community colleges with an emphasis on creating customized industry training and equipment. Community colleges play a vital role in our region’s economic development.
  • Support funding for increased training programs in the trades – plumbing, electricians, HVAC, carpenters, welders, etc.
  • Support additional school district funding for the development of technical training centers in every high school.

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Healthcare/Insurance

  • Health Care Cost Reductions – review of the NYS specific health insurance mandates that add tremendous costs to insurance in NY, one of the top most expensive insurance states in the US. Examine the HRCA taxes that reimburse hospitals and how those costs are being affected by the ACA and other federal health insurance reforms. Health care costs must stay under control to reduce expense to businesses and small business owners.
  • Support the reinstatement of the Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission. This commission would provide lawmakers with a cost and efficacy analysis prior to a vote on health insurance mandates.
  • Support reforming the medical tort system to make costs more affordable and predictable.
  • Insurance Reform – NYS has the most restrictive and onerous insurance laws in the country forcing nearly every insurance carrier to create its own unique NY company in order to operate and comply. We need reform to insurance law to put us on an equal playing field with the other 49 states and hopefully through those reforms lower the cost of insurance.

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Transportation/Infrastructure/Energy

  • Support additional funding and programs for improving roads, bridges, electrical grids, gas transmission, rail lines and ports.
  • Provide funding to upgrade our aging electric transmission system and energy production.
  • Support upgrading the state’s high-voltage electric transmission system in a manner consistent with competitive wholesale energy markets to make pricing more competitive in upstate communities.
  • Support green energy programs and incentives
  • Support expansion of natural gas infrastructure and access to homes and businesses.
  • Support continued investment in our aging water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Rural Broadband Expansion – in order to be competitive we need support for the expansion of broadband in our county to allow us to grow our own businesses and attract new ones and to attract new residents to live and work in the county.

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Economic Development/Tourism

  • Support increased funding and marketing of I Love NY program.
  • Support expansion of the Microenterprise Program funding as start-up businesses need a boost.
  • Support and funding for countywide incubator programs to nurture new innovative businesses with limited funding and resources to get started.
  • Support funding and programs for Main Street development and business attraction.
  • Support efforts to improve the availability of capital from both conventional and unconventional sources to attract investment for housing, retail, business expansion, mixed-use and other economic development projects.
  • Support the expansion of Opportunity Zones and the use of these zones to focus federal and state funding to new, innovative businesses and promote economic growth in these zones.

Mi

Greene County Chamber of Commerce
327 Main Street, P.O. Box 248 , Catskill, NY 12414
P: 518-943-4222  F: 518-751-2267
info@greenecountychamber.com

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