April 15, 1999
Upstate business groups push new agenda to boost economy
Business organizations in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse have unveiled Advance Upstate New York, a new effort to bolster the upstate economy.The three groups are seeking legislative action on four issues they consider barriers to economic growth upstate. Specifically, they are seeking:
- Repeal of the gross receipts tax on utilities to reduce New York's high energy costs.
- The gross receipts tax is considered a major reason why New York's energy costs are above national averages-as much as 70 percent by some estimates. Most other states have either no GRT or impose it at a much lower rate than New York.
- Mandate relief through repeal of the Wicks Law, which forces local governments and school districts to use multiple contractors on any construction job with costs over $50,000.
- Workers' compensation reform-a cap on benefits on permanent partial disability.
Both workers' comp reform generally and a cap on benefits on permanent partial disability are also Council priorities. Most other states have placed a cap on benefits in cases of permanent partial disability. Cases of permanent partial disability account for more than half of New York's workers' compensation costs. Efforts to reduce the cost of air travel to and from upstate destinations.The groups that developed this agenda are the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York, the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the "The Business Council applauds this initiative," said Denise Murphy-McGraw, The Council's director of regional affairs. "The more voices there are urging steps to improve our economy, the likelier it becomes that those voices will be heard."Advance Upstate New York builds on The Council's Upstate Agenda, a series of proposals unveiled last fall designed to bolster the lagging upstate economy.The Upstate Agenda urged lawmakers to reduce energy costs, accelerate existing tax cuts, enhance workforce development, repeal mandates in order to lower property taxes, pre-approve potential business sites, and market New York's economic progress to businesses and economic development professionals both inside and outside New York.In addition, the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS) has announced "Sell-NY," a package of ideas designed to stimulate economic growth through: a marketing campaign to promote New York sites for new businesses and jobs; an Internet-based system to match job openings with qualified workers; a program to help industries compete in (and meet competition from) emerging electronic commerce; incentives to support entrepreneurship; and chamber-based trade centers to help companies develop export business.
Click here for the news release on the Advance Upstate New York initiative.