Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — March 10, 2009

Small Businesses call for elimination of proposed tax increases

ALBANY— “With more than $4 billion in proposed new taxes in the Governor's budget it is quite clear that New York is facing a budget crisis not just because of the recession. It is also caused by years of too much state spending and taxes that are too high driving away business and people. -- We must change that,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State Inc., at Small Business Day 2009.

Affordable health care is a serious concern for New York employers especially for those running a small business. Already as part of 2008 – 2009 Deficit Reduction Plan the Governor and the legislature in February increased health care taxes in New York by more than $ 350 million. And now the Executive Budget includes a plan to increase health care taxes by more than $450 million. That will bring the total to more than $800 million.

These health insurance taxes would drive up the cost of health insurance coverage for small businesses should be removed from the budget and we believe that the federal stimulus aid makes that possible.

Proposed increases in taxes on life and property/casualty insurance would also make these products more expensive for small business owners. Participants will also call for the elimination of these taxes.

“Our members tell us that the cost of energy is great concern to them, yet the Governor's budget proposes an increase of $651 million dollars in so-called 18-A assessments on utilities and telecommunications providers,” said Adams, “This huge increase will drive up what small businesses pay for energy and telephone services.”

With New York's energy prices already 60 percent higher than the national average for residential and small business customers, New Yorkers cannot afford another tax. When this new tax is applied to telecommunications companies that are regulated by the Public Service Commission it will put them at a significant competitive disadvantage to non-regulated providers.

“These companies and their customers, many of them small businesses, could also be hit by a proposal in the Governor's Budget to allow municipalities to extend their utility gross receipts taxes to wireless telecommunications companies,” said Adams, “All of this will drive up the cost for small businesses in the state and it must not be allowed to happen.”

Small Business Day, is co-sponsored by the Business Council of New York State with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS), and the New York Main Street Small Business Coalition, is an annual event designed to give small-business operators an opportunity to network with each other and discuss priority issues with key lawmakers and staff.