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January 17, 2006

Weld argues that New York must enact policy changes to reduce taxes and other job-creation costs

Arguing that New York’s economy has become too dependent on taxpayer-financed jobs, a top candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor this year told the Business Council Board of Directors that he would make it his top priority to help New York’s private sector create more jobs.

Achieving that, said former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, will require aggressive efforts to reduce New York’s tax burden and enact policy reforms to ease other high job-creation costs in the state, including workers’ compensation, health insurance, and energy.

“You can’t love the job and hate the job-creator,” Weld told the Council’s board members Jan. 17 in Albany.

Weld also cited the Public Policy Institute’s seminal 2004 report, Can New York Let Upstate BE Upstate?, in arguing that state lawmakers have enacted too many high-cost policies that New York City is able to withstand but that are killing prosperity in countless Upstate cities and communities. That report was the first to argue that state lawmakers permit Upstate to opt out of many state policies that drive up costs.

“Whoever is elected Governor of New York on Nov. 7 will take over a state that has been hemorrhaging well-paying jobs, that has lost 10 seats in Congress since 1980, that has more people moving out of it than any other state, and that has trouble holding its 20-to-34-year-olds—our seed corn,” Weld said in prepared remarks.

About three-quarters of net new jobs created in Upstate New York since 1990 are either directly or indirectly paid for by taxpayers, Weld said. “In other words, they are tax revenue eaters, not tax revenue creators,” Weld said.

Weld said his priority list would have just one item on it—"good jobs at good wages"—and that he would pursue this goal by addressing several persistent policy problems in New York that keep the state’s job-creation costs too high. His policy priorities include: