For Release — Thursday, November 20, 2003
SURVEY: HUGE MAJORITY OF NEW YORK
BUSINESSES SAY HIGH TAXES,
HIGH COSTS OF JOB CREATION HURT THEIR OPERATIONS
Council chairman: Survey results are
'an alarm that Albany cannot ignore'
ALBANYA huge majority of New York State employers say the state's high taxes and high costs of health insurance, workers' compensation, and electricity are hurting their ability to do business, a new Business Council survey of New York employers shows.
"This message from employers is an alarm that Albany cannot ignore," said Heidi Nauleau, chairman of the Aarque Companies of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, and chairman of The Business Council. "New York's employers clearly believe that New York must do more to address cost issues at the core of our economic competitiveness.
"Past improvements in our business climate have not been enough to give our businesses the sound economic footing they need to compete," she added. "Albany must do more."
The survey, which addressed a wide range of issues that affect business conditions in New York, was mailed to Business Council members in September. There were 590 responses to the mailed survey, a response rate of 11 percent. In October, The Council also posted the survey on its Web page and invited other associations to suggest that their members complete it. All told, there were 628 responses.
The survey showed how employers perceive the effects of a range of costs. For example:
- Health insurance benefits: Almost nine of 10 respondents (89 percent) said the cost of employee health insurance has a high impact on their operations. Most of the rest (9.5 percent) said the impact of these costs is moderate. Virtually no one (1.3 percent) said the effect of health insurance costs on their operations is low.
- Taxes: Employers are concerned about the effect on their operations
of taxesall taxes.
For example, nearly nine in 10 said New York's real property taxes have a high (55 percent) or moderate (33) impact on their operations. Only 12 percent described the impact as low.
Similar percentages said New York's personal income taxes had a high (52 percent) or moderate (36 percent) effect on their operations. And most respondents also said corporate income taxes have a high (45 percent) or moderate (34 percent) effect on their operations.
- Workers' compensation: More than nine of 10 respondents said workers' compensation costs have a high (71 percent) or moderate (23 percent) impact on operations. Concern was more pronounced upstate, where 73 percent said the impact was high. Downstate, 55 percent ranked the impact of workers' comp costs high.
- Energy: Nearly nine of 10 respondents said the high cost of electric power has a high (53 percent) or moderate (35 percent) effect on their operations. Respondents showed slightly less concern about the costs of natural gas, with 39 percent saying these costs have a high impact on their operations and 37 percent describing the effect as moderate. One-quarter of respondents said the effect of these costs is low.
- Labor laws and regulations: More than eight of 10 respondents said state labor laws and regulations have a high (43 percent) or moderate (41 percent) effect on their operations. Respondents showed slightly less concern about federal labor requirements, with 32 percent saying these requirements have a high impact and 50 percent saying they have a moderate impact.