Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Monday, October 24, 2005


ALBANY—Seven New York business associations have joined Stop the Amendment, the coalition of think tanks, fiscal-policy experts, good-government groups, former state budget officials, and business groups chaired by former Governor Hugh Carey. The coalition is united in its opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would radically change New York’s budget-making process.

Chambers of commerce and business groups that have joined the coalition include the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY); the Business Council of Westchester; the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce; the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce; the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce; the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber; and The Otsego County Chamber.

"Passing this amendment will certainly lead to more spending and higher taxes," said Nancy L. Conley, executive director of the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce. "Increased state taxes, coupled with the fiscal crisis in Erie County, will force local businesses out of Western New York and prevent new businesses from establishing themselves here. We must defeat Proposal Number One!"

"We're urging a 'no' vote because the amendment is focused on power and process instead of spending and taxes," said Garry Douglas, president and CEO of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. "Jobs won't be created in our state because we spend too much but do it in a timely fashion. We have to keep our eye on the ball, which is the need to control state budgets, not just speed them up at any cost."

"We're very pleased to be joining Stop the Amendment," said Matthew Stubley, president of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce. "We believe that showing lawmakers they cannot take over the budgeting process is the first step in taking back our own power as the taxpayers. Saying 'no' to lawmakers will make them sit up and pay attention."

“Speaking with one voice for manufacturing and business throughout Central Upstate New York, we stand opposed to the proposed amendment, as it removes several of the important checks and balances necessary for fiscal constraint currently written into the State budget process,” said Randy Wolken, president of MACNY.

“The legislature’s ‘budget reform’ is a potentially disastrous move away from fiscal responsibility in New York State’s budget process,” said David Duerr, interim president of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. “It is no mistake that many citizen and business groups also support a veto of this flawed amendment.”

"The proposed budget reform amendment heads New York in the wrong direction." said Rob Robinson, president and CEO of The Otsego County Chamber. "Opening the pocketbook for extra spending is not reform; it is a prescription for economic disaster. It is not coincidence that the vast majority of politicians seeking or holding a statewide office are against this legislative power grab!"

"Don’t be fooled. The proposed amendment does not promote sound budgeting," said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. "It is an invitation for ever increasing spending that will mean higher taxes and more debt and an environment that is more hostile to the taxpayer and business owner."

The coalition, which includes 14 groups, is conducting a variety of outreach activities designed to share with New York’s voters and taxpayers broad concerns about the amendment and how it would change New York’s budgeting process.

Other coalition members include: