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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

September 21, 2007

Bruno: Business must 'step up and speak out' for pro-competitiveness policies

Saying that members of The Business Council are New York State's "the movers and the shakers," Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno urged The Business Council and its members to "step up and speak out" for policy changes in Albany that would enhance the competitiveness of the state and its business sector.

"The joint challenge of business and government is to be competitive and to stay competitive and to get more competitive," Senator Bruno said in an address September 21 at The Business Council's Annual Meeting in Bolton Landing, Warren County.

Of the state Senate's view of this shared challenge, Senator Bruno added: "We get it.

"The only way to increase revenues in a real, productive way is by helping companies grow," Senator Bruno said. "When that happens, we're happy for you, and we're happy that you fund education, health care, and infrastructure."

The Senate remains committed to cutting taxes and holding the line on taxes increases, he added, noting that the Senate had resisted efforts earlier this year to increase some fees and intensify businesses' tax burden by "closing loopholes."

He also pointed to recent reductions in state bank taxes, taxes on manufacturers, and the alternative minimum tax.

But he also indicated that a budget estimate next year estimated at $4 billion would create pressure for tax-policy changes that could undermine competitiveness.

The Senate Majority Leader also urged Governor Eliot Spitzer to persuade the state Assembly to return to Albany consider the Senate's "Upstate Now" package of proposals to help the Upstate economy. Provisions of that plan include spending on energy, workforce training, and agritourism, as well as that includes a stepped-up property-tax rebate targeted to senior citizens.

Paul Francis, director of the state Division of the Budget, also spoke at the Council's Annual Meeting September 21.

Francis praised Sen. Bruno for his longstanding focus on economic development, and The Business Council for working closely with the administration on workers' comp reform and many other issues.

He also reviewed the "four pillars" of the Spitzer administration's economic-growth policy: