March 23, 2004
Bruno: Lawmakers will not 'just throw money' at schools to comply with CFE order
New York will not merely "throw money" at schools as its seeks to comply with a court order that the state do more to ensure a sound basic education for New York City students, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno told business leaders Tuesday.
More than 400 business leaders from across the state came to Albany to discuss keeping different kinds of insurance affordable and accessible for New York State employers at The Business Council's annual Small Business Day at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany March 23.
In a keynote address at the event, Senator Bruno addressed a variety of issues, including the Senate's proposal to create a new health-insurance tax credit for some small businesses, the Governor's workers' compensation reform proposal, the challenge of enacting a state budget on time, and the Senate's job-creation proposal.
"Nothing is more important than helping small businesses be competitive and grow," he said.
As business leaders lobby lawmakers for policies to improve the state's competitiveness, he added, they must keep a wary eye on how the state will comply with the court order, and related pressure to increase school spending from the advocacy group, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, that brought the litigation in the first place.
"New costs will come from your businesses and your paychecks," he said. "We already spend the most per pupil. We're not just going to throw money out there - because we already know that money alone doesn't get it done."
Also at Small Business Day:
- Governor George E. Pataki unveiled his new workers' compensation reform package to Small Business Day participants and asked them to support the new reforms. "Grow, create jobs, help us to reform this system to help you better," the Governor said.
- State Senator James Seward (R-Oneonta) and Paul Macielak, president and CEO of the New York Health Plan, discussed the challenge of making health insurance more available and affordable for smaller businesses. Sen. Seward reviewed a new Senate majority proposal, of which he is prime sponsor, to create a 50 percent health-insurance tax credit for some small businesses.
- E.J. McMahon Jr., senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, argued that New York's state budget is growing at a rate that the state's economy cannot and will not be able to sustain
- Michael Misenhimer, executive director of the Empire State Subcontractors' Association, and Philip LaRocque, executive vice president of the New York State Builders' Association, reviewed how skyrocketing costs of general liability insurance are hurting New York's construction industry.
- Joseph DiGiovanni, vice president for public affairs for the Liberty Mutual Group, discussed the case for workers' comp reform.