NFIB/NY in the News

Date: October 13, 2016

Related Content: News Elections New York

2015 NFIB/NY News Archive
December 26, 2016
Pols Leery of Imposing Soda Tax to Help Fund Healthcare NY Daily News
Ken Lovett

Michael Durant, the New York State director for the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses, called the suggestion of a soda tax “a retread idea that would be a classic example of nanny state stuff.

December 23, 2016
Declining Population, Declining Clout for NY State of Politics Blog
Nick Reisman 

A Census report showed that NY lost population last year, despite Governor Cuomo’s defense that the Administration cut taxes and spending. NFIB State Director argued that more must be done. 

“That’s not going to keep people here. You need to reform and restructure the costs for the state of New York,” said Mike Durant, the state director for the NFIB. “You have some population growth in New York City, but a lot of the decline is in upstate New York.”

Then there are the northeast’s brutal winters and that has an impact too in losing residents. But it’s not the only factor, Durant said.

“That’s probably going to be the tipping point,” he said. “But ultimately if New York is friendly to business and reduce costs, people are going to want to stay here.”

October 12, 2016
How the Presidential Race Could Affect 3 NY Issues Gannett
Joe Spector 

“What’s driven the small businesses’ anger more this year than in the past: They hear constantly from candidates on both sides about how we need to help small business,” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “But too much of the focus has been on start-ups — seed money — but you can’t be for small business and push these dramatic increases in the minimum wage.”

October 6, 2016
Guest: NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant
The Jewish View Interview with Rabbi Nachman Simon and Marc Gronich

State Director Mike Durant discusses a variety of legislative issues that appeared on NFIB’s scorecard including a minimum wage hike and a bill that would prohibit localities from imposing a tax on plastic bags. Durant also talked about employer costs associated with ban-the-box legislation and proposals for a state sponsored retirement plan. With respect to economic development dollars, Durant repeated that narrow, targeted programs that spend significant tax dollars will not make the lasting changes New York needs. He again called for broad based tax cuts to boost the economy. 

September 29, 2016
New York’s Business Climate Remains One of the Worst
Capital Tonight Interview on Time Warner Cable News

State Director Mike Durant talks about NY’s poor ranking in the new Tax Foundation Report listing the state as 49th, and he discusses NFIB/NY’s legislative endorsements with show host Liz Benjamin.

Durant said that the support of small business should not be taken for granted, and the lawmakers who received endorsements earned backing from the organization. 

September 27, 2016
Small Business Group Limits Its Backing of State GOP Candidates Buffalo News
Tom Precious

“…In all, the group, through its Save America’s Free Enterprise Trust PAC, endorsed just 49 candidates for the Legislature’s 213 seats.” 

September 7, 2016
Connections: Unshackle Upstate and NFIB’s Legislative Scorecards WXXI
Evan Dawson

Interview with NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant begins around 30 minutes into program
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant said, “What we’re seeing is the business community rating a session that was a disaster from start to finish.”

August 29, 2016
Cuomo’s Minimum Wage Non-Profit Through the Lens of His New Regulatory Scheme Gotham Gazette
David Howard King

Durant said he is concerned about the new laws and how they might affect dissent and perhaps earn political retribution. “It’s always been a concern with any governor, but with this governor it’s a bit heightened,” he said. “You can’t stifle opposition. Government is supposed to be an argument between various sides about an issue and you see where that argument goes. Stifling dissent is not doing the public any favors.”

August 25, 2016
Business, Enviro Groups Differ on Lawmakers Politics on the Hudson
Jon Campbell

While 15 Senators and 24 Assembly members received high scores for voting on bills of importance to Environmental Advocates, just 9 Assembly members received perfect scores for supporting pro-business legislation. The article points out that Democrats usually do well with environmental interest groups, while Republicans tend to lean pro-business. However, the NFIB/NY scorecard this legislative session had lower scores in general for lawmakers than in past years. 

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant said, “It ranks as one of the most difficult in recent memory for the small business community throughout the state of New York.”

August 25, 2016
Listen to NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant Discuss Voting Record with Finger Lakes Daily News
“A lot of it comes down to the state budget… Minimum wage and paid leave were high profile issues we opposed. The Senate voted unanimously for that budget bill.”
August 24, 2016
NFIB/NY Reveals Low Scores for Lawmakers
Capital Tonight Interview on Time Warner Cable News

NFIB/New York this week released its voting record scorecards for the 2015-2016 legislative session, and it was not pretty.  Overall, every lawmaker scored lower than in past sessions. 

State Director Mike Durant
said that the drop in voting records was largely due to dramatic changes in the minimum wage and to family leave.

See also: The Albany Business Review and NY State of Politics 

August 21, 2016
Economic Experts Trash Cuomo’s Proposal to Revive Affordable Housing Credit with Wage Subsidy
New York Daily News
Ken Lovett

Sources suggest that the Cuomo administration is using a proposed wage subsidy to spur further talks about the expired 421-a tax credit.

“Mike Durant, who represents 11,000 small businesses in New York as state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, called the proposal “crazy,” particularly after Cuomo and the Legislature this year passed a law to phase in a $15 minimum wage in some parts of the state without offering businesses any assistance.

“This is probably something the labor unions want and I think we’re finding that when the labor unions say ‘jump’, everyone in Albany says ‘how high,” Durant said.”

July 7, 2016
Re-Evaluating the Economic Development Strategy Capital Tonight Interview on Time Warner Cable News
State Director Mike Durant discusses the state’s economic development strategy that fails to address the real problems burdening New York’s business community and taxpayers.

Durant says that the state should stop and reassess the economic development portfolio before continuing to arbitrarily identify industries as winners and losers. The more than $8 billion dollars in economic development funds spent to lure businesses and create jobs wouldn’t be necessary if the state fixed problems with workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance in addition to adopting scaffold law reform and tort reform.  

July 6, 2016
State Urges Patience with Start Up New York Oneonta Daily Star
Joe Mahoney

Nearly three months after it was due, the Empire State Development Corp. released an eagerly awaited report on Start Up NY late on a Friday afternoon before the 4th of July holiday weekend with little fanfare– for good reason. The report found that Start Up, heralded by the Governor as a program to transform the state’s economy, created just 332 jobs across the state last year despite a $50 million advertising program aimed at attracting out of state entrepreneurs to relocate to NY and earn tax free status for ten years. 

NFIB State Director Mike Durant criticized the program saying: “They tried to throw money at the problem in hopes it would change New York’s trajectory, and obviously it hasn’t.” 

July 5, 2016
Start Up NY: Why Was Report Released Late Friday? Politics on the Hudson
Jon Campbell

Governor Cuomo is receiving criticism after a report was released showing that his highly touted Start-Up NY jobs program only created 408 jobs in its first two years.  The state’s economic-development branch released the legally required report at 4:30 p.m. on the Friday before Fourth of July weekend, three months after its deadline.  

NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant questioned the timing of the release and called for a detailed audit of the state’s job-creation program: “Obviously we have a governor who likes to pat himself on the back.  Releasing a report on Friday before the Fourth of July weekend pretty much says there’s nothing to applaud here.” The article notes that business groups were split on Start-Up NY when it was first introduced by Cuomo in 2013, but NFIB opposed it.

June 6, 2016
Business Regulation Council’s Recommendations are ‘Political Posturing’, NFIB Director Says 
Albany Business Review
Marie French

 NFIB State Director Mike Durant summarized a set of sixteen weak recommendations release late Friday afternoon by Governor Cuomo’s Business Regulation Council:

“There isn’t anything here that will offset the enormous impact minimum wage and paid leave will have on the bottom line for small business,” Durant said. “This is all political posturing and window dressing.”

May 18, 2016
An Email Account but No Live Meetings for Business Climate Panel Politico
Jimmy Vielkind

Despite the looming deadline for recommendations of the state’s Business Regulation Council due on June 3, there’s seemingly been no action by the council. The Governor’s office claims the council has had conference calls, but there have been no forums or in person meetings as originally planned. NFIB/NY is one of 42 groups that wrote a letter to the council outlining positions on issues including Scaffold Law Reform, the workers’ compensation system, health insurance costs, tax burdens and med mal liability. 

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant said of the council: 

“This seemed at the time like it was pure window-dressing,” he said. “As each day goes by — I haven’t heard anything from anyone on the panel, and my colleagues haven’t heard — I have to question what it’s doing.”

April 14, 2016
Cuomo, Legislative Leaders Form Panel to Review State’s Business Climate Times Union
Matt Hamilton

Following the announcement of the newly created Business Regulation Council, tasked with making recommendations on ways to decrease the cost of doing business in the state while also protecting workers, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant tweeted about the group’s make up:
@mpdurant “two real biz leaders, union leaders and some co-opted folks. Color me skeptical” 

The panel is responsible for making recommendations to the legislature and Governor by June 3, 2016 so they can be considered by the legislature before the end of session. 

April 12, 2016
NY’s $15/Hr. Minimum Wage Called “Too Much, Too Fast” for Small Business Owners  The Daily Signal 
Leah Jesson

NFIB/NY Leadership Council Member Rod Dion, owner of Tech Valley Office Interiors, shared concerns about the increase in minimum wage with The Daily Signal. “I’m not only concerned on how it’s going to affect my budget and what I’m paying my employees,” Dion, who sells mostly to other businesses, said. “But I have this concern: Will my customers start buying less because their labor rates have gone up?”

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant added:
“This is going to be an economic disaster, particularly in upstate New York.” 

April 4, 2016
Minimum Wage Compromise Draws Criticism and Praise WRVO North Country Public Radio
Paige Horning

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant reflected on lawmakers’ vote on minimum wage and the lower wage “compromise” for upstate. 


“Durant said he doesn’t believe that the upstate minimum wage will stop at the current threshold of $12.50 an hour. He points out that the pause for an economic analysis will be done by Cuomo’s own aides.


“They feel that nothing negative is going to happen, and that this will just create an economic utopia for New York, and we disagree,” Durant said. “But, I think that this governor is never going to hit a pause button.””

April 2, 2016
NY Budget Recap: Reactions Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding

“The announced budget agreement incorporates provisions which will threaten the viability of New York’s small businesses and set our state on a path of complete economic uncertainty. With an agenda filled with false narratives, Governor Cuomo’s push for the most expansive paid leave mandate and highest minimum wage will put Main Street in fiscal peril. New York’s economic reality cannot, and should not, be pushed into a fiscally irresponsible progressive experiment fueled by threats of executive action. This budget agreement will not make New York more economically competitive and further cements our status as blatantly anti-business. 

We appreciate the numerous lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences for their commitment to fight these costly proposals and their work to mitigate their impact. Additionally, the tax relief component of this budget deal are welcomed and appreciated.”

See also: Syracuse Post Standard, Politico

April 2, 2016

Union Efforts Paid Off with Big Wins in 2016 State Budget Buffalo News
Tom Precious 

“”I think this budget is sort of a crossroads moment for a lot of folks,’’ said Michael Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “The small-business owners … were very engaged in this process, trying to push back on minimum wage and paid family leave. It was a far more unified business community than usual. And we didn’t even get a quarter loaf.”. .

To put an exclamation point on the week, Durant said he watched in amazement when the GOP-run Senate voted 61-1 for the budget bill that increased the minimum wage – despite a week of closed-door talks where Senate Republicans threatened to go against any sort of wage hike.

“New York has become more and more labor friendly at the expense of small business and taxpayers,’’ Durant said.”

April 1, 2016
Wage Hike, Paid Leave Spark Budget Backlash Oneonta Daily Star
Joe Mahoney 

“Mike Durant, head of the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, predicted the wage boost will be devastating to the economy. “I just don’t see the upstate economy being able to withstand this,” he said.

He said the Senate Republicans were left in an “untenable position,” after Cuomo put both the higher minimum wage and the most expansive paid-family-leave policy in the nation in budget bills that also dealt with aid to public schools and many other programs.

“Ultimately, some people are going to lose their jobs and some businesses are going to close” as a direct result of the budget measures, Durant predicted.”

April 1, 2016
Small Biz Unhappy with Minimum Wage Hike Capital Tonight Interview on Time Warner Cable
Liz Benjamin

“The final state budget agreement on minimum wage was a compromise, and the increases will be implemented slower upstate. It will go up to $9.70 at the end of this year, and then rise 70 cents a year until reaching $12.50 at the end of 2020. Then, the Division of Budget will review and decide whether to continue raising it to eventually get to $15 an hour. But most business groups are not happy with the plan. NFIB’s Mike Durant explains.”

April 1, 2016
Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal with Minimum Wage Albany Business Journal
Marie French

“Mike Durant, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said in a statement those tax cuts were appreciated and thanked Republican lawmakers for pushing to mitigate the governor’s proposals.”

March 31, 2016
Five Things to Know about NYS Budget Deal Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 
Jon Campbell

The final budget agreement included a personal income tax but no tax cut specifically designed for small business. Taken as a whole with an increase in minimum wage and an expansive paid leave mandate, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented: 

“The National Federation of Independent Business criticized the package.

“We continue to appreciate the efforts by many lawmakers to stand firm and protect New York’s small businesses and family farms, but continued resolve is necessary,” the group’s executive director Mike Durant said in a statement Wednesday. “This is not a deal worth celebrating, but one which needs to be flatly rejected.””

March 31, 2016
New State Budget Includes Calibrated Minimum Wage Increase WXXI Radio
Karen Dewitt

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented on the budget agreement:

“The National Federation of Independent Business said it  will “threaten the viability of New York’s small businesses.”” 

March 30, 2016

NY Tax Break in Works for Couples Earning Less than $300,000 Buffalo News
Tom Precious

While lawmakers seem to have agreed on a middle-class tax break, which would benefit many small business owners who pay taxes through the PIT, NFIB/NY maintains that it’s not enough to offset a minimum wage increase and paid family leave. NFIB/NY pressed on in its call for lawmakers to reject any budget deal that included the proposals. 

“Business groups, not-for-profit organizations, hospitals and nursing homes are among just some of the groups on hand Wednesday trying to beat back or weaken the minimum wage plan. They focused their efforts, and lobbyists, in and around the Senate chamber. Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said that it is “becoming clear that the path Albany is taking will be disastrous for New York’s small employers.’’”
March 30, 2016
Budget Deal Could be Fatal Blow to Small Business, NFIB Director Says Albany Business Review
Marie French

With only two days left to pass an on-time budget, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant continued to call on legislators to reject a budget including paid leave and a $15/hr. minimum wage. 

“”While reports of a meaningful personal income tax reduction are positive, the fact remains that the financial impact of these proposals are so significant that an unprecedented amount of regulatory reform would be needed to make this deal net neutral,” Durant said in a statement.


“If common sense does not prevail, the decisions made over the course of today will likely set New York’s economy into a tailspin and be the fatal blow to tens of thousands of small employers.”

What is being considered is a lower minimum wage or slower phase-in for upstate New York. Durant said in an interview that would help mitigate the impact for the region and that regions like Long Island should not be included in the target of $15 an hour in New York City by 2018, which some Assembly Democrats want to see.”

See also Politico, Politics on the Hudson Blog
March 26, 2016

David Klepper
With a state budget required to be adopted by April 1, time is running out for lawmakers to reach a deal on minimum wage. NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant rejects a compromise on the proposed $15/hr. wage. 

“Business groups concerned about the sharp increase, however, say they don’t want a compromise – they want the proposal to fail.

“We know the issue is on the 1-yard line,” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Maybe this deal falls apart.””

See also NY1, Times Union, Capitol Confidential Blog, Watertown Daily Times, Staten Island Advance

March 25, 2016
Exemptions May Color Deal to Lift New York State’s Minimum Wage New York Times
Jesse McKinley

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented on the possibility that a deal is in the works for a $15/hr. minimum wage. 

“Opponents of the $15 minimum wage fear that Mr. Flanagan and other Republicans may be compelled to accept the plan, to avoid alienating moderate voters, who could hand control of the Senate to the Democrats.

“We understand that there’s a special election in a couple of weeks; we understand that the governor has a pretty hefty stick right now,” said Mike Durant, the New York State director of the National Federation of Independent Business, adding, “We’re feeling the heat.””

March 24, 2016
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant urged the Senate to remove the minimum wage proposal from budget negotiations. Click to view Time Warner Cable News

March 24, 2016
Connections with Evan Dawson WXXI Radio
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant emphasized that a $15/hr. minimum wage will hurt small business and jobs during a panel on the impact of the wage hike. Listen

March 24, 2016
Business Groups Says Compromises Show Wage Bill is Faulty  
Michael Gormley

“The carveouts for small businesses and farmers acknowledges it will have a negative impact, so what’s the point?” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

March 23, 2016
Legislators Consider Slower Ramp Up for Minimum Wage Politico
Jimmy Vielkind

As budget negotiations continue, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant responded to one proposal floated that would carve out the agricultural industry from the $15/hr. wage mandate. Durant said: 

“By floating carve-outs the governor is acknowledging that there will, in fact, be serious consequences for small employers and our family farms,” he said. “That in and of itself should give any member of the Senate Republican conference pause before agreeing to such a terrible proposal.” “


March 17, 2016
Minimum Wage Advocates Have Spent $1.72 million on Lobbying Efforts Politico
Jimmy Vielkind 

Advocates for an increased minimum wage have already spent $1.72 million on campaign activities this year. By contrast, business groups fighting against the legislation, namely the Minimum Wage Reality Check Coalition,  have fewer resources to fight back. NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented: 

“It shows that this campaign is far more about the union worker than it is about the working poor or the people who are struggling in this state, and secondly, the fact that this issue two weeks from its deadline is paralyzed shows that it doesn’t take money when you have real-life, emotional stories from the people who are actually impacted. It doesn’t take money to have an impact. It takes reality, and that’s what our campaign is all about.”

March 16, 2016

New York State Assembly Minority Press Conference on Minimum Wage Hike and Alternatives
Click to view

March 15, 2016
Fight for $15 Battlefield at the Capitol
Dan Levy

After unions brought busloads of members to Albany to rally with Governor Cuomo for a $15 an hour minimum wage, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant told WNYT, “I think at the end of the day lawmakers will do their constituents justice and listen to both sides and cut out the white noise that rallies produce.” He continued, “We’ve had 36,000 letters sent into the legislature and the governor in the last 24 hours. So, we are doing our part to make sure that not only are their stories being heard, but there is a large presence of opposition to this.”

March 4, 2016 
Syracuse Post Standard video 
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant stands with Senator John DeFrancisco in opposing the $15.00/hr. minimum wage proposal. Durant says that Governor’s narrative stating that there will be no negative impacts of 67% increase in labor costs is a “false narrative.” 

March 4, 2016

State Reports that Small Businesses are Struggling Watertown Daily Times
Mike Durant

In a Letter to the Editor, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant outlined the economic realities of a 67% increase in minimum wage on businesses that already are struggling in New York State:

“Economists across the spectrum have indicated that when a minimum wage exceeds 50 percent of the median wage, there will be economic consequences and job loss. The median wage in New York is $19.65, and the governor’s proposal equates to 76 percent of the median wage.This is not an economic experiment that the independent business can withstand. This is political opportunism at its worst.”

March 3, 2016
Business Groups Back DeFrancisco Amid Union Tussle NY State of Politics blog
NFIB/NY State Director responded to unions campaigning against Senator John DeFrancisco over his opposition to a $15/hr. minimum wage. Durant said: 

“Senator DeFrancisco has always been a lawmaker mindful of all sides on any given issue and committed to doing what is best for his district and New Yorkers,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant in a statement. “The Senator is right to be concerned with the impact the Governor’s minimum wage proposal would have on small business. The fact big labor is taking the petulant child approach on a well-respected member of the State Senate is appalling, especially considering Senator DeFrancisco has always taken a cerebral approach to issues and listens to all sides.”

February 28, 2016
Letter to the Editor:  Wage Increase Will Cost Jobs Auburn News
Letter to the Editor on behalf of NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant

“Since the fall, Governor Cuomo has embarked on a crusade filled with false narratives and dubious math as he pushes for a $15 minimum wage. He states repeatedly that he “wants out of the hamburger business” and directly points his finger at the “record profits” being raked in by CEOs. He talks about “economic and social justice.” All this undoubtedly stokes the positive public polling of this issue, but completely fails to give New Yorkers the clear picture they deserve.”

February 25, 2016

Private Sector Security Retirement Plans Become the Next Progressive Cause Gotham Gazette
David Howard King

Experts warn that the entire country could be headed for a financial crisis caused by the fact that an aging workforce has not been saving for retirement. Cuomo announced a commission to study the issue in his State of the State address. NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant said there’s concern about having the state get involved in private sector retirement plans. 

“From the small employer perspective, we balloted our members on this topic last fall with 85 percent of respondents opposed, with wide-ranging fears,” Durant said. 
“Albany has definitely not proven it is capable of acknowledging the complex differences between big and small business through legislation, which adds to our concerns.”

February 24, 2016
At Kingston Rally, Cuomo Insists Minimum Wage Won’t Cost Jobs Politico New York 
Jimmy Vielkind

Governor Cuomo continued his statewide tour with labor leaders to push for an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour yesterday. Cuomo insisted during a rally that small businesses would not be hurt by the increase. 

In a statement responding to Cuomo’s bus tour, NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant expressed his concern: “As the governor continues to double down on his ill-conceived push for a $15 minimum wage, he touts economic justice, fairness and dignity. Yet where is his concern for the hardworking men and women that struggle everyday owning a small business or family farm? He surrounds himself with big labor yet dismisses concerns of small employers? In an economically broken state, the abrupt shift in his agenda directly threatens small business. His demeaning rhetoric towards them hastens the exodus of economic investment and growth.”
See also: NY Daily NewsTimes Union Capitol Confidential blog

February 10, 2016 
Study Shows Positive Impact of Minimum Wage, Business Groups Disagree WAMC
Karen Dewitt

The NYS Department of Labor today released a report detailing the benefits of a $15/hr. minimum wage by region.
State Director Mike Durant said the state’s report ignores the realities of a 67% wage hike on small business and a wage hike fails to address underlying problems in the state’s economy. 

Mike Durant, with the New York chapter of the National Independent Business Federation  says the report provides a “false narrative” that says there would be zero impact on business.

“This basically regurgitates the slogans and propaganda that the advocates pushing for the $15 minimum wage have been saying,” Durant said.


He says raising the minimum wage is viewed as a quick fix, but it does not address larger problems within the economy, including, a  significant amount of New Yorkers who have had to make a career out of low wage jobs. Durant says there is also a skills gap. Employers often overlook poorly skilled New Yorkers and hire out of state, better skilled workers instead.”

February 10, 2016
Everyone’s Talking About Paid Family Leave, Only Compromise Will Yield a Deal Gotham Gazette
David Howard King

Various paid leave proposals are being floated in Albany, including one put forth in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal, a bill introduced by the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference and one-house legislation passed by the Assembly last week. The Gotham Gazette quoted State Director Mike Durant: 

“Small employers are currently able to accommodate employees and provide flexibility in terms of scheduling,” said Michael Durant, New York State director of The National Federation of Independent Businesses. “Those that can afford to offer paid time off already do and to require those that cannot afford the added expense will be dangerous to the small business sector. This is simply a solution in search of a problem and would be yet another government mandate on small business.”

February 10, 2016
Employers to See Drop in Unemployment Insurance Politics on the Hudson blog

Following 2013 reforms to the UI system, employers expected to see a decrease in UI premiums. The Governor’s Office estimates that employers will see an $84 per employee decrease this year. In context of current challenges faced by employers, including $15/hr. minimum wage and paid leave proposals, Mike Durant called it a “negligible reform.”

“Business groups said the reforms were helpful in 2013, but warned that the savings may be undermined by Cuomo’s push for a $15/hr. minimum wage.

“At the time those reforms were done, that was probably a very positive thing for New York’s employers,” Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said. “But given the trajectory the administration’s agenda has taken over the last two years — particularly relative to the paid leave and minimum wage discussions that are ongoing — it’s a negligible reform.” 

February 10, 2016
$15 Minimum Wage Would Create $5.6B for NYC, State Says Daily News
Glenn Blain

The NYS Department of Labor today released a report detailing the benefits of a $15/hr. minimum wage by region, one day after the Senate Republican conference called for more data about the impact of the proposed wage hike. State Director Mike Durant was quoted as saying the report is “self-serving propaganda” by Cuomo.

“We find this alleged analysis absent the comprehensive examination worthy of such state resources,” said Mike Durant of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Any serious study would disprove that this proposal is simply an economic stimulus package and highlight that mandating a 67% increase in labor costs on Main Street will, in fact, have serious consequences,” Durant added.

Durant’s statement also was picked up by the Albany Business Review and NY State of Politics.

January 29, 2016
Joe Biden Joins Cuomo in Albany to Push for Paid Family Leave Albany Times Union
Rick Karlin

State Director Mike Durant discussed concerns with Governor Cuomo’s employee-funded paid leave proposal that would give employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave.  

“Business advocates worry about the associated costs and the burden it could impose on small operations.

“There’s a difference between a guy that has four people working for him at the corner deli and the CEO of a major corporation,” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. He also worried that the cost could drive up disability insurance rates since it might be funded from the state’s disability funds.”

February 9, 2016
Gillibrand on Cuomo’s 12 Week Paid Leave Plan Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding

During an event in central New York on Monday, U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand praised Gov. Cuomo’s plan to offer workers 12 weeks of paid leave.  Under Cuomo’s plan, workers would see a 60-cent deduction from their pay check each week to fund up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. 

NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant opposed the measure and said that requiring companies that can’t afford paid leave to offer the benefit would be “dangerous to the small business sector.” 


January 21, 2016
Cuomo Proposes $298 Million Tax Cut for Small Businesses Westchester Business Journal
Evan Fallor

The Westchester Business Journal covered Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $298 million tax cut for small business. NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant noted that the savings don’t balance out the hit being leveled by the increasing minimum wage. 

“I think looking at the issue singularly, the tax cut for small businesses is a terrific first step toward finally reducing the tax burden on small businesses. Unfortunately you can’t look at that and not look at the governor’s proposed minimum wage increase. In no way does the tax cut offset the dramatic increase in labor costs that small businesses will face.”

January 21, 2016
New York Taxes Residents More Than Any Other State, Study Shows Daily News
Glenn Blain

A recent Tax Foundation study showed that New York has the highest tax burden of any state in the nation. NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant said: 

“This study is just one more piece of evidence that until lawmakers create sound fiscal policies and legislation, our state will continue to suffer and drown in both state and municipal taxes.”

January 15, 2016
Workers to Help Pay for Cuomo’s Paid Family Leave New York Post
Carl Campanile

Governor Cuomo has proposed in his 2016 Executive Budget Proposal an employee-funded paid leave requirement that would provide 12 weeks of job-protected family leave to bond with an infant or newly adopted child or to care for a seriously ill family member. In response to the claim that paid leave will be fully employee-funded, Mike Durant stated: 

“There is no such thing as a free government mandate for employers,” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

He claimed small businesses are becoming collateral damage in the feud between Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.

“This is a largely a tit for tat. The race for the progressive mantle is affecting government policy,” Durant said.

January 14, 2016

What They’re Saying About Cuomo’s Budget The Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding

NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant’s statement reacting to the governor’s plan:
““Today’s address by Governor Cuomo was heavy on rhetoric, light on details and full of conflicting messages for small business,” Durant said. “The Governor both touts the importance of small employers to New York’s economy, yet continues to push proposals which directly threaten their viability. From the push to dramatically increase the minimum wage to the renewed effort to mandate paid leave, small businesses are directly looking at significant cost increases which no tax cut could offset.””

January 14, 2016

Business Leaders, Lawmakers Concerned about Cost of Cuomo’s Paid Leave Policy Albany Business Review 
Marie French

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposed 12 weeks of paid leave for employees paid for through a payroll deduction. State Director Mike Durant argued paid leave will still increase costs for employers. 

“He said insurance carriers would likely pass some of the cost down to employers and called the mandate a “solution in search of a problem.”

“In a year where small business is fighting a disastrous minimum wage proposal, the thought of government mandating a paid leave requirement speaks to the larger narrative that the governor is clearly threatening the viability of small business in New York,” Durant said.”

January 7, 2016
Opposing Another Minimum Wage Hike Capital Tonight Interview on Time Warner Cable
State Director Mike Durant joins host Liz Benjamin to discuss NFIB/NY’s 2016 Legislative Agenda including blocking a proposed minimum wage increase and several other labor related issues. 

January 7, 2016
Cuomo Proposes Thruway Toll Freeze Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Jon Campbell

Earlier this week in advance of his State of the State address, the Governor suggested freezing tolls on the Thruway through 2020. The plan would eliminate tolls for agriculture traffic and offer a tax credit for passenger vehicle racking up more than $50 in tolls annually and commercial vehicles spending $100 annually. 

State Director Mike Durant said: 
“You need to put a band-aid somewhere on a high cost for small employers, and if this means a reprieve from the endless battle over toll hikes, then we’ll have to take that.”

January 6, 2016
Fred Dicker Live From the State Capitol: Guest Mike Durant Talk 1300 Podcast
Click the above link and scroll to find the January 6 interview on NFIB/NY’s 2016 Legislative Agenda

January 6, 2016
What’s Coming in NY’s Legislative Session? Buffalo News
Tom Precious

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant calls tax cut plan combined with minimum wage increase a “failed triangulation attempt” that will result in a “massive net negative.” 

“Small and large businesses say such a large increase, even spread over five years, will kill jobs.

One business group called it a failed triangulation attempt by Cuomo more than a week before unveiling his 2016 budget.

“I think that when a business owner looks at their bottom line and does the math on what this tax cut means for them – and by the way that assumes they’ve survived another year in New York – and looks at over $15 billion that will come out of them from the minimum wage increase, they’re going to see a massive net negative,” said Michael Durant, New York State director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Between the minimum wage plan and other ideas like a paid family leave program, “businesses are just going to shrug their shoulders and turn away. There’s not going to be rousing applause,” Durant said of the Cuomo business tax plan.”

January 5, 2016
Cuomo Plans Small Biz Tax Cuts, Downtown Funds Binghamton Press Sun Bulletin
Joseph Spector

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented on Governor Cuomo’s plan to increase the amount of income business owners exclude when filing business taxes through their personal income taxes from 5 to 15 percent. The tax cut is partially to compensate for Cuomo’s proposal to hike the minimum wage to $15/hr. 

“It won’t make any small business more viable,” said Mike Durant, director of the New York state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Albany.

NFIB/NY member and Leadership Council Vice Chair Art Price also is quoted in the article. 

“He throws a pebble in the pond and it creates ripples, but he’s not filling the void,” said Art Price of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service in the Town of Chenango.

January 4, 2016

Andrew Cuomo Announces $15 Minimum Wage for SUNY Workers Capitol Confidential Blog, Albany Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant responded on Twitter to Governor Cuomo’s jabs at business while at a rally with labor leaders to promote a $15/hr. minimum wage.  

Interesting that the Governor does not demonize all those employers he hands billions of taxpayer money to, but does to struggling #smallbiz

— Mike Durant (@MPDurant) January 4, 2016

Related Content: News | Elections | New York

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