NFIB/NY in the News

Date: November 05, 2015

Related Content: News State New York

November 4, 2015
Businesses punch back on minimum wage hike, Politico New York
Jimmy Vielkind

ALBANY — With elections over, a coalition of business groups announced its united opposition to a proposed minimum wage increase they say will cause job losses upstate at a time when more of its factories are closing.

“We do want to make sure that the coalition shows the Legislature — and the Albany bubble, I guess — that the business community is largely united and we’re here, and our members our engaged,” said NFIB executive director Mike Durant. “As we get closer to session and session starts, and we actually see, by the way, a proposal … we’ll adjust our advocacy accordingly as a coalition.”

November 4, 2015
Small-business owners prepare for minimum wage fight, Times Union
Matthew Hamilton

Small-business owners and larger groups have created the Minimum Wage Reality Check campaign to press the familiar case that any increase in the wage would boost overhead costs that could lead to job cuts or price increases — especially if an increase in the minimum creates a domino effect up the pay scale.

The economy (and with it jobs, wages and the like) consistently polls as one of the top issues that voters care most about, making it is a perpetual campaign issue. It’s Republicans — most prominently those in the state Senate majority — who as a group have much of the support from business groups in past elections.

“For some of our organizations we get involved in the electoral process,” said Mike Durant, director of the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Business. ” … Those are conversations, depending on how the issue goes, we’ll have.”

August 4, 2015
NY Special Election Could Sway Balance of Business Interests in State Government, Albany Business Review
Marie French

A special election scheduled for November 3rd in the Southern Tier’s 52nd Senate District could tip the balance of power in the Senate, upsetting Republican control of the chamber. Governor Cuomo’s early support for the Democratic candidate may signal that business priorities again get pushed aside. 

Cuomo’s involvement does not bode well for his continued interest in working with the Republican majority in the Senate on business priorities, said state director of the National Federation of Independent Business Mike Durant.

“It’s very concerning from a taxpayer, from a business owner perspective that the governor’s going to spend some time on this race,” he said.”

July 24, 2015
Surprise: NY business groups, unions differ on minimum wage hike for fast-food workers, Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant responded to the Fast Food Wage Board’s recommendation to raise the wage for fast food workers to $15 per hour in New York City by 2018 and the rest of the state by 2021. 

Durant said the recommendations “set a disastrous course for future minimum
wage discussions.” He called the process led by the fast food wage board a

“The slate of offenses against the business community in this process range
from the lack of true business representation to the insistence by the governor
to embrace a movement which proved hostile to employers at every public
hearing,” Durant said.”

July 23, 2015
New York Wage Board Votes to Raise Fast Food Worker Pay, Westchester County Business Journal
Colleen Wilson

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant responded to the Fast Food Wage Board’s recommendation to raise the wage for fast food workers to $15 per hour in New York City by 2018 and the rest of the state by 2021. 

Mike Durant, New York director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement that “small employers heavily rely on an entry level workforce and today’s decision will ultimately stifle the hiring ability for small business outside the fast food industry.”

Durant and other critics of the wage hike have said fast-food restaurants should be considered small businesses in some circumstances because they are owned by franchisees, rather than the chains’ CEOs.”

July 22, 2015
Wage Board’s Recommendation to Take Years to Fully Implement Upstate, Time Warner Cable News
Nick Reisman

In an expected move, the Fast Food Wage Board convened by Governor Cuomo declared that wages for fast food workers in
New York City should be raised to $15 an hour by 2018 and statewide by 2021.
While the Commissioner of Labor must decide whether to accept that
recommendation, since he serves at the Governor’s discretion his decision seems

Mike Durant told Time Warner Cable News:

“If they understood the
pressure small businesses were in, they wouldn’t be raising to $15 at any
Durant also noted that, “Upstate New York is
predominantly small business territory. When you start talking about
dramatically increasing labor costs, in this instance labor costs, even if it’s
fast-food, that puts pressure on small businesses across the board.”

July 20, 2015
Union Leaders, Not Business Dominate Cuomo Advisory Committee, Albany Business Review
Marie French

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant weighed in on the composition of a new advisory panel slated to examine 14 industries for safe and fair worker protections from day laborers to car wash employees. Of fifteen organizations on the panel, only four represent business. 

Durant said committees set up by Governor Cuomo’s administration,
like the wage board, often seem to have a predetermined outcome.

But he cautioned that the advisory council Cuomo created last week needs to
be wary of unintended consequences, particularly if the final result was a slew
of new laws or regulations.

“Regulatory changes for small employers tend to have dramatic impacts,”
Durant said. “Does it open them up to more lawsuits, does it open them up to
more human resources issues… My biggest concern when I see things like this
comes down to frivolous lawsuits, that an employee will start suing because they
feel slighted.”

July 1, 2015
290,000 More Would be Eligible for Overtime in NY, Binghamton Press & Sun
Brian Tumulty

On Tuesday, the federal Department of Labor
released revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act that could impact workers in
the retail, hospitality, insurance and finance industries, among others. The
proposed revisions would require salaries workers making less than $50,400 to be eligible for overtime. Rules currently exempt
managers making over $23,660 from overtime. The new regulation could go into
effect as early as next year.  

Business groups are predicting the overtime regulation
will add a new layer of complexity to work schedules.

“Small businesses across the board run on a very finite profit margin,
and when you start putting these additional layers of federal regulatory
burdens, the impact is going to be pretty significant,” said Mike Durant,
state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

June 27, 2015

Opinion: The Deck Has Been Stacked in Favor of Fast Food Workers, Buffalo News
Mike Durant and Melissa Fleischut

In an op-ed, NFIB State Director Mike Durant and Melissa Fleischut President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association  tell Buffalo News readers that the Governor is using a self-appointed wage board to raise wages for fast food workers and has neglected to even consider the hardships this would have on small franchise owners.

“The wage board has been a deeply flawed process from day one. The governor has egregiously circumvented New York’s legislative process by appointing a board that in no way accurately represents the interests of the restaurant industry,” Mike writes.  

Mike also says that the fast food industry is just the first target and cites data compiled by the Employment Policy Institute of 925 small business owners telling how a dramatic wage increase would affect their ability to operate in New York.  “Eighty-three percent said they are very likely or somewhat likely to reduce staffing levels in response to a $15 per hour minimum wage. Almost one-quarter of the respondents – 22 percent – said they would be very likely to close. A sharp minimum wage increase would kill jobs, close businesses and discourage new restaurants from opening.” 

June 24, 2015
Cuomo, Legislative Leaders Agree to Extend Property Tax Cap, but Business Groups Want to See Details, Auburn Citizen

Robert Harding

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant commented on the “deal” extending the property tax cap. 

But Mike Durant, New York state director of the National Federation of
Independent Business, offered a critique of the deal. He said extending the tax
cap with modifications is “troubling.”

“With more than $7 billion in savings, the property tax cap has been arguably
the most important achievement by the Cuomo administration,” he said. “The
property tax cap must be a permanent fixture in New York as is without changes.
At a minimum, any extension of the property tax cap should include a year
separation from the expiration of any rent control deal, again, without any
carve outs.”

June 17, 2015
School, Municipal Groups Push for Tax Cap Carve-Outs, Gannett
Jon Campbell

As school officials and localities argue that the tax cap has limited their ability to avoid harsh cuts and attempt to weaken the cap through carve-outs, NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant maintains that the tax cap should be made permanent without changes. 

“I think it’s disingenuous to start whittling away at a tax cap that has
proven savings,” Durant said. “The savings, if the cap is made permanent, will
continue to increase, and it will spur more conversations on mandate

June 15, 2015
Anti-Minimum Wage Hike Forces Create Coalition, New York Examiner
William Dowd

NFIB/NY and partners in the business community and restaurant industries joined together to oppose Governor Cuomo’s Wage Board process to examine increasing the minimum wage for fast food workers. Advocates are pushing for $15.00/hr. 

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant said, “This entire effort undermines any of the half-hearted attempts by this
administration to help small employers. From the governor’s complete disregard
of the legislative process to the failure to recognize that many ‘fast food’
restaurants are, in fact,independent small businesses, the message is seemingly
clear how this will play out. The preordained outcome by this wage board will
increase the minimum wage and ultimately will stifle job creation while
shuttering small businesses all across New York.” 

June 11, 2015
It’s Sales Tax Renewal Time, But Not All Lawmakers Want to Own It, Albany Times Union
Rick Karlin

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant comments on the biennial tradition of lawmakers approving sales tax extenders that allow counties to charge more than their base sales tax allowance. 

” . . .Some business groups say the extensions are symptomatic of how
local government is hooked on the tax revenue.

Nothing ever goes away here, a temporary surcharge on this, a temporary
surcharge on that,” said Mike Durant, state director of the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.”

June 10, 2015
Assembly GOP and Small Business Advocates Call for Shut Down of START-UP NY, Yonkers Tribune

NFIB/NY supports legislation sponsored by the Assembly Republican conference to eliminate the Start-Up NY program, which, despite a $211 million ad campaign to woo businesses to the state, has failed to produce any tangible results as far as job creation and economic development. 

“Small-business owners are seeing their tax dollars used to promote an
alleged ‘new New York,’ when for them nothing has changed,” said Mike Durant, NFIB/NY Director.  “The
Assembly Minority Conference has consistently voiced opposition to gimmicks like
START-UP NY and has pushed for broad tax cuts and sensible regulatory reform.
 It is imperative that Albany comprehensively addresses the barriers to growth
on Main Street and the ‘Small Business Full Employment’ does just

May 27, 2015
Small Business Groups Urge NY Legislator’s to Oppose Toxic Toys Legislation, Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding 

NFIB/NY sent a letter to Senators urging them to withdraw support or oppose a bill that would could ban countless chemicals absent scientific fact, threatening the chemical manufacturing industry in the state and adding to the state’s already complex laws.  

acknowledged that at first glance, the Child Safe Products Act appears to be
good legislation. But a closer look reveals that the bill is “little more
than a catchy slogan, more rhetoric than reality.”

“Unfortunately, the alleged independent studies promoted by proponents of
this bill amount to little more than ‘junk science,'” NFIB New York State
Director Mike Durant wrote in the letter to state legislators. “Their findings
are the result of skewed analysis that does little more than show what is in a
product rather that how or why the chemical is present.” “

May 26, 2015
Cuomo Seizes on Wage Issue as Legislature Sits Paralyzed by Scandal, Partisanship, Gotham Gazette
David Howard King

State Director Mike Durant says Governor Cuomo’s establishment of yet another wage board to examine wages for fast food workers is a “frightening precedent” that sets a “disastrous course” for future minimum wage discussions.
“Governor Cuomo is setting a frightening precedent by governing via executive order and completely usurping the legislative process,” said Mike Durant, president of the New York chapter of NFIB, in a statement earlier this month. “The announcement of his intention to empanel yet another Wage Board will only embolden those calling on the State to dramatically increase labor costs on the full spectrum of small employers across New York. While NFIB does not represent the corporate fast food industry, this Wage Board assuredly will have a predetermined outcome and will set a disastrous course for future minimum wage discussions that will impact New York small businesses.”

May 19, 2015
Business Groups Say Cuomo’s Wage Board is for Show, Capital New York
Laura Nahmias 

Governor Cuomo’s appointments of a wage board to examine raising the minimum wage for fast food workers raises concerns including unprecedented unilateral action by the executive. Further, the appointment of members that already have publicly expressed support for raising the minimum wage suggests that an increase is a foregone conclusion. 

“The governor,
on a variety of topics, has utilized commissions and I think it’s safe to say
they have predetermined conclusions,” Durant said. “I think that to have a
thorough conversation on any issue both sides need to be put together in a
room. The governor obviously is taking a new turn in his administration,
governing via executive order without considering the impact this will have on

“Our biggest
concern is it sets a scary precedent that this is how the governor is going to
handle the issue of minimum wage going forward,” Durant said. “We really feel
that this is a discussion that should be had through the legislative process.”


April 22, 2015
Connections with Evan Dawson: Is START UP NY in Trouble? (radio)
State Director Mike Durant served as a panelist to discuss the status of New York’s signature economic development program to attract new and expanding businesses to tax free zones. In the past year, the program has created a mere 76 jobs out of over 2000 promised at a cost of over $350 million to the State. Durant argues that NY needs an organic economic environment for all businesses to grow and thrive before implementing a program like START UP.   

April 21, 2015

Small Business Advocates Outline Priorities for New York Lawmakers, New York Business Journal
Tom Caprood
NFIB today released a nine-point agenda for the remainder of the legislative session. The organization will continue to advocate for tax reform and fight against labor cost increases. It also calls for making the property tax cap permanent and a thorough review of the state’s economic development priorities.

“This session, so far, has clearly put small employers on the defensive and has
highlighted some substantial misfires when it comes to investing our tax dollars
for economic development.””- Mike Durant, State Director

April 9, 2015
New York has worse economic outlook than any other state: report, Daily News
Glenn Blaine
The American Legislative Exchange Council reported yesterday that NY ranks dead last in terms of economic competitiveness. This is the fifth time in six years that NY has ranked last. 

“Until there is a concerted effort to broadly address fiscal and economic
issues, New York is going to continue to languish at the bottom,” Mike Durant,
state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said.”

April 8, 2015
How $5.8 Billion in Surplus Will Be Spent, Time Warner Cable News
Nick Reisman
This year’s recently approved budget agreement included windfall money collected from financial institutions. Lawmakers and the Governor allocated the funds towards various projects such as broadband expansion, economic development grants, avoiding a toll hike, construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge and paying a penalty to the federal government for years of overpayments in Medicaid funding. 
“I think it should have been more narrowly focused on infrastructure needs that over the long term would have reduced property taxes,” said Mike Durant, NFIB state director.

April 4, 2015
GOP Senators Count Budget Gains in Democratic Dominated NY, Associated Press
Michael Virtanen

In the State Budget passed last week, Senate Republicans counted victories including fighting back tax increases, curbing spending and maintaining the strength of small business by rejecting a minimum wage increase. 

Mike Durant, New York director of the National Federation of Independent
Business, said they were pleased lawmakers rejected significant proposals that
would hurt small businesses and applauded the Senate Republicans’ “steadfast
support in maintaining their position to reject yet another substantial increase
in the minimum wage.”

April 3, 2015
Cuomo’s Start-Up NY Program Off to a Slow Start, Capital New York
Will Brunelle

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant suggested that the state needs to “start over” with Start-Up NY, the tax free zones created by Governor Cuomo in exchange for jobs and investments from companies moving into or expanding in New York State.

“This train has probably left the station, but when you look at the amount of
money going to Start-Up, yacht tax cuts, a Hollywood film credit … we’re
talking $2 billion,” Durant said. A tax cut of “just $800 million” for small
business owners and other New Yorkers could provide a much clearer, and much
faster, benefit to the state’s economy, he said.”


March 30, 2015
New York’s $142 billion budget impacts small business, Albany Business Review
Tom Caprood

“Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the “status quo” budget agreed to by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature does not do enough to provide tax relief to small business owners. At the same, proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage and require employers to provide paid family leave, both opposed by business leaders, are expected to kept alive in the legislative session despite being left out of the budget.”

March 27, 2015
Letter: Limiting Pool of Bidders Will Cost, Newsday
Mike Durant, NFIB/NY State Director, and Brian Sampson, President of the Empire Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors, wrote an opinion letter to Newsday opposing Suffolk County’s new labor law that limit opportunities for local small businesses, reduce competition for government contracts and increase construction costs for county taxpayers.   

March 25, 2015
Why New York Businesses Oppose Family Leave Proposals, Albany Business Review
Megan Rogers

“Mike Durant, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says a national poll from NFIB reports that 97 percent of employers provide a flexible leave program. Mandating a paid family leave program may cause some small businesses to incur increased costs from the overtime for other employees filling in for those on leave or from hiring a temporary employee.

“One of the biggest problems with labor mandates or leave mandates like this is there’s no such thing like a one size fits all that works for every business or every employer,” Durant says.” 

March 25, 2015
Small Business Responds to Ongoing Budget Negotiations
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant issues statement warning lawmakers that a final budget that includes an increase in minimum wage or paid leave policy will be considered a key vote against small business. 

March 23, 2015

Guest Viewpoint: New Cuomo Rhetoric, Same Old Gimmicks,  Binghamton Press & Sun
Mike Durant
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant summarizes Governor Cuomo’s efforts toward helping small business through a nominal tax cut proposal and urges a look at the “bigger picture” of what the tax cut really means in comparison to the Governor’s other top-tier progressive initiatives. 
“Small business equates to approximately 98 percent of all business in New York and employs more than 3 million New Yorkers. However, while publicly celebrating their importance, he is excluding almost 90 percent of them. Factor in his incessant push to bolster his progressive résumé through the proposed escalation in labor costs via the minimum wage, and this equation adds up to a net negative for Main Street and a “closed for business” sign on many  doors.”

March 17, 2015

Assembly Approves Paid Family Leave Measure, State of Politics 
Nick Reisman
The Assembly today passed a family leave bill that would provide up to 12 weeks for paid time off and would cover up to 2/3 of an employee’s salary.

“”Some business leaders, however, remain staunchly opposed to the measure,
saying it would in essence be a tax on employers.

“We’re 100 percent against it,” said Mike Durant of the National Federation
of Independent Businesses. “We will not negotiate paid family leave just like
our stance with minimum wage and it needs to be scuttled as our negotiations

March 17, 2015
Another Voice: Proposed tax cuts for small business leave most of them out in the cold, Buffalo News
Mike Durant 
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant puts into perspective the $32 million small business tax cut that Governor Cuomo touts as “historic” and urges readers to consider that Hollywood receives $400 million in tax cuts; Start UP NY receives $320 million in tax cuts; and NY gives $2 billion in tax incentives for economic development.

“Cuomo’s small business agenda can be simply summed up as gimmicky and window dressing masquerading as beneficial initiatives. By failing to broadly cut taxes for the small employers while dramatically increasing their labor costs, you have to question whether this administration has any understanding at all of the complex problems small employers face.”

March 10, 2015
NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant talks about a minimum wage increase on Fred Dicker’s Live from the State Capitol. Click on Podcasts and View All to listen.  

March 3, 2015
Cuomo Confident that He’ll Reach Wage Hike Deal, Capital New York
Jimmy Vielkind

“At the Capitol, small business owners rallied by the National Federation of Independent Businesses said they would be squeezed by the proposal.

Mike Durant, who leads the group’s New York operation, said Cuomo’s proposal to try and offset the pressure with a tax cut was disingenuous, because it was structured based on the state’s corporate franchise tax—not individual income taxes that are used by the vast majority of small employers, benefiting only a “very finite group.”
“It’s not going to bolster small business,” Durant said. “The rhetoric is there, but the actual policy is not. These are the people where his continued push to increase labor costs hurts most.””

March 3, 2015
Top Shows that Got Film Tax Breaks, WGRZ Buffalo
Joseph Spector
Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the money going to just two recipients of the film tax credit is more than half of the $26 million small-business tax cut Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed—and larger than the $27 million that just 10 shows or movies received in the last quarter of 2014. The tax cut would help 42,000 small businesses on their income taxes next

“Between ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Nurse Jackie,’ you’re talking half of
the small-business tax cut—this ‘historic’ small business tax cut,” Durant told
Gannett’s Albany Bureau today on ‘Small Business” lobby day at the Capitol.
“What message does that send?”” 

March 3, 2015
Capital Tonight
“Unshackle Upstate Executive Director Greg Biryla, National Federation of Independent Businesses New York Director Mike Durant, and Noble Gas Solutions owner David Mahoney joined us to recap their small business lobby day held at the state Capitol and responded to Cuomo’s continued push for another minimum wage increase.”

Feb. 25, 2015
NY Labor Department Approves Wage Increase for Food Service, Other Tipped Workers, Auburn Citizen
Robert Harding
The State Labor Department approved a wage increase from $5.00/hr. to $7.50/hr. for food service and hospitality workers beginning December 31, 2015. 

“Business groups criticized the order handed down by the state Labor Department. National Federation of Independent Business New York State Director Michael Durant said the decision will hurt the state’s hospitality industry. “With today’s final approval by the state Department of Labor and at the urging of Governor Cuomo, small employers in the vitally important hospitality industry will see increases in labor costs,” Durant said. “This move runs counter to the alleged focus on small business and the barriers they face in New York.””

Feb. 4, 2015
State Leaders Clash on Minimum Wage Debate, TWC News
Nick Reisman
“I the mayor and the governor need to both stop the race to be on the Mount Rushmore of progressive politicians. This is a non-starter for small business — either proposal,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.”

Feb. 4, 2015
How Many Have Enrolled in NY Health Exchange? Binghamton Press & Sun
Denise Nickerson
In response to the revelation that 1.4 million of 2 million new enrollees on the public health insurance exchange are enrolled in Medicaid, NFIB State Director Mike Durant noted that New York State already has the most expensive Medicaid program in the nation– ringing in at $62 billion per year. Small businesses on the other hand are facing the difficult choice of dropping insurance coverage for employees due to expense and paying a fine or absorbing higher costs.  

January 30, 2015
Possible Tipped Wage Increase, Small Businesses Unhappy, WENY 
Leanne DeRosa
Last week, the Tipped Wage Board recommended increasing the tipped wage from $5.00 to $7.50 or a 50% increase. “Mike Durant, the State Director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, says the raise may sound like a good thing, but when you factor in increased costs and all the aspects of running a small business, it actually has a negative impact. He says small businesses will have to find ways to save money, such as cutting hours, or using technology for automated ordering.”

Jan. 28, 2015
Interim Silver Replacement Has More Business Friendly AgendaCapital New York 
Bill Mahoney
” Morelle, a Democrat from Rochester, “represents a thoughtful lawmaker that you can go have a conversation with on a specific issue,” said Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “You’re not dismissed immediately. For our agenda, that would represent change from what we’ve seen over a vast number of years.” “

January 26, 2015
Capital Tonight 

NFIB/NY State Director Mike Durant tells Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin that Governor Cuomo’s 2015-2016 budget proposal sends a mixed message to small business. Durant states that it’s hard to applaud the proposal, including a small business tax reduction, because 90% of small business owners are excluded from the tax cut. At the same time, the Governor proposes increasing minimum wage and the “circuit breaker” property tax gimmick leaves out high taxed commercial property.  

Click image to view interview, starting at 41:22

January 22, 2015
Some Small Businesses would see tax cut under Cuomo budget, but minimum wage could go up, Albany Business Review 
by Michael DeMasi
” Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the governor’s push to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere “is a nonsensical distraction and calls into question the sincere effort to help small business.” “Make no mistake, there is no deal to be made on this issue,” Durant said. “

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