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March 27, 2007

Bruno hails contribution of small business

Small businesses should be encouraged and fostered by New York government, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno told participants at The Business Council's Annual Small Business Day at the Empire State Plaza on March 27.

“The most important aspect of what goes on in New York State revolves around you,” Senator Bruno told the nearly 250 participants. He said small business is responsible for producing most of the new jobs in the state, and thus new taxpayers.

Businesses should not be “smothered by taxes so onerous it makes you less competitive,” Senator Bruno added. He promised that he and the Senate majority would continue to work on making the state's business climate more conducive to success for small businesses.

Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Queens), the chair of the Assembly Small Business Committee, said he recognized that government could be a detriment to small business.

“The less we do, sometimes, the better,” he said. “Government can't be a hindrance by putting extra costs on small business – we need to lower costs.”

Part of the day-long event was dedicated to a panel of speakers representing the new administration.

Department of Labor Commissioner, M. Patricia Smith, and the regional chairs of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), Daniel Gundersen and Patrick Foye, updated participants on the activities of their agencies.

Patrick Foye, who serves as the downstate chair of the ESD, said he and Gundersen were working on better coordinating the services of the ESD and eliminating agency overlap, saving taxpayers money and better serving the state's businesses.

“In each one of the Upstate communities, there is a successful and growing businesses,” said Daniel Gundersen, the ESD's new Upstate chair. “We need to get in front of that business and anticipate their needs so that they don't leave.”

Commissioner Smith began her remarks by reminding participants of the recently passed workers' compensation reform legislation.

“A lot of the work of the workers' comp package is yet to come,” she said. She noted that streamlining agency programs and producing a better data collection system were integral parts of reforming the comp system and lowering costs.

Smith also said the system was “over-lawyered,” and a more concerted effort need to be made to resolve claims quickly.

Participants also heard from Robert Ward, the director of research for the Public Policy Institute. Ward updated the participants on the state of small business in New York.