New York has made great strides in improving its business climate in the last four years-but can and will do even more, Gov. George Pataki said at The Business Council's Annual Meeting.
"It [New York's economic comeback] is not done-it's never done," the Governor said Sept. 16. "Every day, we have to be more effective and competitive as a state."
In a speech before some 500 business and government leaders, he pledged to continue working with The Council to sustain the comeback.
He noted that in each of the last four years, New York has led all states in cutting taxes, with reductions in personal and business taxes totaling $19 billion a year.
He immediately vowed that New York will again lead the nation in tax cuts in each of the next four years.
The Governor noted that the state has:
- Enacted workers' compensation reforms leading to rate reductions that will be 33 percent by October.
- Deregulated energy, which will lead to double-digit rate cuts for industrial users in the state in the next five years.
- Saved or added 115,000 jobs through the Power for Jobs program, which allocates reduced-cost power to employers for job creation or retention.
- Created a new Office of Regulatory Reform which has repealed or amended some 1,000 regulations, saving business an estimated $1 billion a year in needless paperwork and aggravation.
The Governor noted that these steps to improve the business climate have helped New York create well over 361,000 new private-sector jobs.
"People again have confidence in New York, which they need to have before businesses can grow, create opportunities, expand here," he said, noting that New York now leads the nation in the count of new corporate locations and expansions published by Site Selection magazine.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno told the Annual Meeting on Sept. 17 that the Senate will be "focusing on the gross receipts tax as it related to energy and communications," and will work to "equalize the tax rates for banks and insurance companies." He added that "we've got to deal with liability reform."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the state needs to focus on "new technologies" and energy costs. He said proposed tort reform bills could "disadvantage New York consumers."
Assembly Republican Leader John Faso told attendees he favors liability reform, and "a good dose of competition" in the education system. He said the next budget needs to "restrict the growth in state spending to below the rate of inflation," with further tax cuts.