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Business and Labor respond to State of the State

By Lombardo David
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Business Council Statement on Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address:

We are pleased that Governor Cuomo's 2013 State of the State message extends his commitment to restraining state spending and avoiding new or increased broad-based taxes. New York is in a stronger position today due to the enactment of critical reforms backed by The Business Council, including a 2 percent cap on the growth of property taxes; pension reforms; a new, permanent economic development low-cost power program and a fiscally responsible state budget.

We also applaud the Governor's focus on improving the performance of the state's education and workforce development programs to assure that we have the skilled workforce necessary to support future economic progress. He also proposes important unemployment insurance and workers' compensation program reforms designed to provide across-the-board savings for business.

Recognizing both the economic challenges and opportunities facing New York, and in particular upstate New York, he has proposed several innovative approaches to supporting new business growth. We look forward to reviewing the details of his economic development proposals.

However, we have concerns regarding several initiatives announced today that could impose new costs or new barriers on business. These include: significant new energy initiatives funded, at least in part, through increased rates or assessments, new "pay equity"-related enforcement mechanisms, an increased state minimum wage; tighter regional carbon emission limits that will increase energy costs on consumers; and others.

As we start a new year and new legislative session, The Business Council looks forward to seeing the details on the Governor's proposals and continuing our strong working relationships with the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly.

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address:

Governor Cuomo's commitment to boosting the state's stagnant unemployment benefit is welcome news to working men and women throughout the state. We commend him for recognizing this long term inequity and for his passionate call to address it this session. The Labor Movement has been fighting for an increase in benefits and a long-term solution for far too long – thirteen years, and look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to finally give unemployed workers the help they need to support their families, stay in their homes, and most importantly find new employment.

We are also pleased that the Governor continues to make raising the minimum wage a priority in his ambitious agenda. I know that working together with the Governor and the Legislature we can get it done.

Along with creating good jobs throughout the state and generating much needed revenue, these are real investments in growing and strengthening the middle class, and in turn the state's economy. I have great optimism that this legislative session will mean real positive change for working families.

Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, a coalition of businesses around the state:

“We’re encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s pledge to rein in state spending and taxes for the third consecutive year. By promoting fiscal responsibility, the governor and the Legislature have successfully managed to stabilize the state’s economy and provide an important sense of security to all New Yorkers.

Additionally, we’re pleased that the governor has made a commitment to address Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance – two long-standing cost drivers for businesses across the state. Given yesterday’s announcement on the confidence of business owners in the state’s economic outlook, this should come as welcomed news. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to ensure that these issues are fixed once and for all.

However, we remain opposed to a minimum wage increase. Businesses across the state that are already struggling to compete and create jobs will be further impacted by a minimum wage increase. New York already has the worst business tax climates in the nation and increasing the minimum wage at this time would only make it more toxic.

Governor Cuomo and members of the Legislature should focus their collective energy on advancing measures such as enacting meaningful mandate relief, cutting the corporate tax rate for manufacturers and reforming the Scaffold Law. These efforts will improve the state’s business climate, help stimulate job growth and strengthen our economy.

We look forward to reviewing Governor Cuomo’s proposed 2013-14 budget and working with the governor and Legislature to resolve the state’s unfinished business during this year’s session.”

Matt Ryan, Executive Director of The Alliance for a Greater New York:

In the current climate, public investment should be focused on job creation, particularly in communities still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and those impacted by long-term unemployment and disinvestment. For too long, economic development policies have overlooked and undervalued low-income and working New Yorkers. The plans to repair and rebuild from Hurricane Sandy could be an opportunity to tackle the jobs crisis in New York's struggling communities, but only if we prioritize policies that are equitable, transparent and accountable, and include those most impacted in decision-making.

Statement by Jennifer Diagostino, Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Justice:

"Governor Cuomo’s “New York Comeback” and “performance culture” still have a long way to go. Regional Economic Development Councils, at a cost of $738 million a year, and Empire State Development Corporation, which costs taxpayers over $1 billion a year, are long on promises, but short on outcomes. Before creating new corporate giveaway programs, New York’s elected leaders should restructure the state’s bloated economic development apparatus, so that it creates quality jobs that lift New Yorkers above the poverty line, and so the public knows exactly how our money is being spent."

"Each year, New York spends $7 billion on corporate subsidies in the name of job creation, and too much of this money is wasted on corporations that fail to create good jobs and community benefits. That’s billions taken out our communities, schools, roads, public transit and the services that we all rely on."

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