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The 2012 Fix New York Agenda

Advocating for Business... Working to create economic growth, good jobs and strong communities across New York State

The 2011 session was generally a positive one for the state’s business community. By controlling spending and avoiding new business taxes, New York has set the stage for restoring its economic competitiveness.

In 2012, The Business Council’s legislative agenda focuses on maintaining and building on the state’s fiscal discipline, improving the state’s overall business climate and reducing state-imposed business costs and barriers to new investment and job growth. Our agenda for the upcoming legislative session will focus on:

We made great strides in 2011 by working together to improve the business climate in New York, and promoting private sector investment and job creation.

I look forward to partnering with Governor Cuomo, the Senate and Assembly and, most importantly, our members, for an even more successful – and job filled – 2012.

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq.
President and CEO
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

New York's Jobs Deficit

Going into the 2012 legislative session, almost everyone’s focus will be on jobs.

While New York can do little to change national and international economic trends, it can have a dramatic impact on the state’s economic climate. Changes must be adopted to make New York’s economic climate more competitive and encourage future growth.

New York has many economic advantages, including a skilled workforce, strong higher education, ample natural resources, and proximity to major markets.

But New York’s economic performance has been unacceptable. Private sector job growth has lagged behind national levels for more than a generation. Since 1960, U.S. job growth has been four times that in New York State. Furthermore, we have done poorly in both the number and quality of jobs. In the last decade, New York lost 496,000 jobs in the state’s eight top paying private sector industries - finance/insurance, management/administration, utilities, information, professional/tech service, wholesale trade, construction and manufacturing. These sectors pay high salaries and produce significant tax revenues and economic spin-offs.

Job Index Growth (in non-agricultural employment), 1960-2009

In contrast, virtually all job growth in New York in the last ten years has been in below average wage sectors, including health and social services, which rely on significant government funding.

New York is replacing high paying jobs with lower paying jobs. It is replacing jobs that compete in the international economy with jobs that are tied to local markets and state and local government funding.

New York has a high state and local business tax burden; among the highest energy costs in the nation; stringent, complex and expensive regulatory requirements; an adverse labor law and liability climate; and other state-imposed barriers to new investment and the creation and retention of private sector jobs.

Private sector job growth (in thousands), 2000-2012

Based on this experience, it is obvious that we need to improve the state’s overall economic climate. Economic growth is the only long-term means to improving the well being of New Yorkers and assuring adequate and appropriate government services and public infrastructure.

Highlights of The Business Council’s legislative and regulatory agenda for 2012

Construction

New York has lost thousands of construction jobs due to the economic slowdown and a poor in-state climate for new capital investment. To reverse these trends, the state should:

Contract Procurement

The process of selling goods and services to state government is increasingly cumbersome, with more businesses, including M/WBEs, bypassing this significant business opportunity. New York needs to make the procurement process more efficient, while assuring fair and reasonable bids. New York should:

Corporate Governance

It is critical that the State promote public confidence in corporate governance while avoiding mandates that make New York uncompetitive with other states. New York should:

Economic Development

As New York improves its business climate, we support measures that open new investment opportunities and effective, targeted economic incentive programs to support investment in strategic industries. We need to:

Energy

Reducing energy costs and promoting adequate and diverse energy supplies will help support economic growth. New York should:

Environment

New York has a stringent environmental regulatory program that imposes costs and operational restrictions on business and impedes capital investment and job growth. The state needs to:

Financial Services

New York needs to support and encourage its largest economic sector (by share of gross state product and total payroll) in the face of the ever-growing global competition. It’s imperative that we:

Fiscal Reform

New York needs to build on its 2011 fiscal reform progress to:

Health and Health Insurance

The ever-rising cost of health care remains the number one concern among all Business Council members. New Yorkers pay among the highest costs for health insurance in the country. We will:

Labor

New York’s labor law includes a number of antiquated, inefficient provisions that impose additional compliance costs or operational restrictions on employers without providing any significant public benefits. The Business Council will work to:

Mandate Relief

The Business Council is a member of the “Let NY Work” coalition, and supports its local government mandate relief package, which aims to:

Taxation

New York’s state and local business tax burden consistently ranks among the nation’s worst in tax climate rankings. To address these issues, we need to:

Telecommunications

This is the new economic infrastructure of the 21st century, and the state needs to maintain an environment conducive to additional private sector investment. The state needs to:

Tort Reform

New York’s legal environment consistently ranks as one of the worst in the nation. The state needs meaningful legal reform that respects the rights of all parties and helps reduce the state’s hidden “lawsuit tax.” We should:

Transportation

The enormous task of rebuilding New York’s aging infrastructure is complicated by a sluggish economy, burdensome state laws and regulations, and already unsustainable state spending levels and rising taxes. Alternatives are needed. We need to:

Travel and Tourism

Tourism is vital to New York’s economy, and improvements in the state’s marketing efforts would result in significant benefits to the state. The Business Council will work to encourage sector-specific strategies to:

Unemployment Insurance

The insolvency of New York’s unemployment insurance trust fund continues to impose significant additional costs on New York’s employers. The state needs to adopt a more sustainable UI tax system and avoid shifting significant additional tax burdens to stable employers. New York needs to:

Workers’ Compensation

The state’s workers’ comp system is less competitive now than before the 2007 reform legislation, due to a near doubling of maximum weekly benefits and slow and ineffective implementation of reforms intended to improve the program and reduce costs. New York needs to:

Workforce Development

New York State’s economic competitiveness is inextricably linked to the success of our education and workforce preparation system. However, the lack of a cohesive vision for these resources across state agencies has resulted in ongoing investments that are not aligned with state or regional goals, or the particular needs of employers. New York needs to: