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Small Business Day Draws Attention to Challenges and Solutions

Date: March 12, 2014

ALBANY, NY – Business leaders traveled from across the state today to advance their positions on a wide range of issues including tax reform, the cost of health care and other measures that impact the state’s business climate.

The event, hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses of New York, was attended by approximately 100 Small Business Day participants representing a large number of trade associations and chambers of commerce. Prior to meeting with elected officials, Small Business Day participants met to discuss the ten-point agenda; which includes the following items: 

• Wage Theft Prevention
• Unfunded Mandate Relief
• Scaffold Law
• Fairness in Contracts
• Out-of-Network Coverage
• Estate Tax
• 18-a Energy Assessment
• Manufacturers’ Credit
• Minimum Wage Increase
• Paid Sick Leave

“Small Business Day not only recognizes the importance of main street businesses, but also serves as a critical reminder to lawmakers of the complex issues they face.  From tax relief to sensible regulatory reform measures, our agenda is essential to the sustainability of New York’s small business owners.  This collective effort should serve as a reminder to lawmakers that small business is the backbone of New York’s economic present and future,” said Mike Durant, State Director, NFIB/NY.

Representatives from additional business organizations called on lawmakers to give serious consideration to the Small Business Day agenda as they work through this year’s budget and the remainder of the legislative session.

“Small business is the heartbeat of the Upstate economy and for too long that heartbeat has been on life support,” said Brian Sampson, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate. “Let this be the year that our elected leaders in Albany finally take action to support and promote New York’s more than two million small businesses by eliminating the costly taxes and mandates – like the 18-A energy assessment and the annual notification provision of the Wage Theft Prevention Act – that continue to limit their economic potential. The Small Business Day agenda provides a roadmap of common sense reforms that will help to make New York State a place where existing businesses can thrive and new enterprises will want to locate.”

“Small business day focuses on how small employers are challenged by New York’s tax and regulatory climate,” said Business Council President Heather Briccetti. “80 percent of our 2,400 members have less than 100 employees, so we welcome this opportunity to share their concerns and help push for measures that make New York’s small business climate more conducive to growth.”

“The nearly 36,000 farms in New York serve as the backbone of their rural economies in upstate and on Long Island.  New York Farm Bureau supports the efforts of Small Business Day to advocate for regulatory relief to assist our family farms to grow their diverse operations. We urge lawmakers to find sensible solutions to the burdens facing small businesses across the state,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau. 

“The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to be participating in Small Business Day in Albany again this year,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “The Partnership looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature towards initiatives that positively impact the state’s business community, including employer mandates, Scaffold Law, broad-based tax reform and mandate relief to reduce the tax burden for NYS employers and taxpayers.”

“Excessive mandates and regulations make it very difficult to do business in New York State, especially for the small businesses that employ the majority of the state’s workforce,” said Chris Wiest, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, Rochester Business Alliance. “Rochester Business Alliance, and its affiliate the Small Business Council of Rochester, consistently hear from our members about onerous regulations, like the Wage Theft Prevention Act’s annual notification provision, that negatively impact the success of their business.  Small Business Day provides business owners with an important opportunity to meet directly with elected officials to discuss how proposed bills and current regulations impact their ability to succeed in New York.”

“Real reform requires bold leadership. Small businesses, especially in the construction industry, continue to find themselves subject to burdensome and excessive regulations which drive the cost of business up and jobs out of state,” said Mike Elmendorf President and CEO of the New York State Chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC).  “From long overdue Scaffold Law reform, to reducing transportation costs on small businesses by investing in New York’s road and bridge infrastructure, it’s time for the state legislature to take action and truly open New York for business.”

“Small business is far and away the economic heart of the North Country,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “Just recently, our 4,200 members were surveyed and they identified clear priorities for action in Albany this year, including real regulatory and tax relief. Small Business Day is highlighting a number of common sense reforms that can support the greatest source of employment, our small business community, and we hope everyone in the State Legislature will respond positively, as they should if they truly support jobs.” 

“Associated Builders & Contractors is proud to be part of Small Business Day at the Capitol. Many of New York’s construction companies are small businesses, collectively employing thousands of local workers and supporting their families in communities across the state,” said Joshua Reap, Government Affairs Director, Associated Builders and Contractors - Empire State Chapter. “Regulatory reform is vital to maintaining a healthy small business community. On behalf of our members, ABC calls on the Legislature to enact changes to reform the Scaffold Law as well as eliminating regulatory burdens such as the annual wage notice requirement.”

“More and more small businesses are feeling the cost of New York’s dubious distinction as 'Sue York.' Whether it is in insurance costs, legal costs or higher taxes driven by trial lawyer giveaways like the Scaffold Law, small business owners understand that they are paying the cost of doing business in the lawsuit capital of the world,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. 

Mark Eagan, President and CEO, Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber said, “The Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber stands with NFIB and other likeminded groups calling for an end to New York’s era of high taxes, overspending, and over regulating. While the Governor and legislature have started to address some of the impediments to economic growth, the fact remains that New York remains amongst the least competitive states in the nation. We have one message for the Governor and legislature: Let’s pass meaningful tax and regulatory reform this session!”

Eric Carlson, President and CEO of the Empire State Forest Products Association said, “The forest products industry is driven by hard working families owning small businesses, hundreds with 3 or less employees. The crushing burden of regulations, fears of ever increasing costs of taxes and compliance consumes all their available resources and prevents them from growing jobs in communities that need it the most.”

Jan Chesterton, President of the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association said, “New York’s hotels are an important segment of the state’s economy. 6 percent of all jobs in the state are directly or indirectly related to the lodging industry, as part of the greater travel sector, with hotels, motels, resorts, or lodges helping to generate $5.2 billion in tax revenue for state and local governments. Many of our properties are small businesses, a segment of the economy responsible for the creation of 51.4 percent of new jobs in the state.”

MACNY President Randy Wolken said, “It is well known that job growth and a solid manufacturing and business climate go hand in hand. One is needed for the other to occur.  With effective pro-business legislation introduced, passed and implemented in New York State, we can seamlessly achieve both of these necessary components in order to regain our State’s financial footing.  Small Business Day is a terrific opportunity to bring together the State’s partnering business groups and make the message loud and clear that the hard working businesses and manufacturers are here, ready to grow and work, and willing to work with Albany to help create  a better and more effective business climate in New York State.”    

“During this legislative session, our priority issues are reform of the Scaffold Law, tax reduction and reform of the Wage Theft Prevention Act,” said Chuck Steiner, president and CEO of the Chamber of Schenectady County. “Our chamber represents more than 1,000 businesses members, and we’re lending our voice to encourage our legislators to act in their best interests.”

To ask lawmakers to support policies that protect and promote small business, please click here

For more information on this year’s Small Business Day agenda, click here

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