2014 NFIB New York Issues

Date: March 31, 2014

Tax Relief
NFIB supports broad-based
tax relief to reduce the crushing burden on New York’s small businesses. Ranked
as having the second worst tax climate in the nation, New York needs a
comprehensive tax reform plan that reduces the cost of doing business to
sustain existing businesses and increase its economic competitiveness.

NFIB/NY supports reducing both
Personal Income Tax and corporate tax rates, as well as cutting taxes for manufacturers,
eliminating the 18A energy assessment and repealing the MTA payroll tax.
NFIB/NY also urges reform of the Estate Tax to incentivize individuals with
family businesses to remain in New York.

Unemployment Insurance and Workers
Compensation Reforms

NFIB/NY supported the reforms to the Workers Compensation and Unemployment
Insurance system passed in 2013. These changes will offer savings and equity
for employers while also combatting fraud. These reforms should be reinforced
with the immediate adoption of the American Medical Association guidelines and
the implementation of the American College of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine Treatment protocols. Adoption of these standards will provide
additional clarity on eligibility and strengthen anti-fraud measures.

NFIB/NY also urges the implementation of a comprehensive evaluation and
training program for Administrative Law Judges involved in the Unemployment
Insurance and Workers Compensation appeals process to promote consistency and

Wage Theft Prevention
The original Wage Theft legislation, when enacted in 2010, fully cemented
New York’s standing as one of the most anti-employer, anti-job growth states in
the nation. This legislation seemed to be motivated by the troubling belief
that not only are many employers routinely cheating and engaging in “theft”
from their employees and also that the Department of Labor was failing to
enforce the previously existing law.  Although NFIB/NY would like to see a full
repeal of this legislation, we are currently lobbying in support of a bill to
eliminate the employer’s annual notice requirement and instead only mandate
that employers present information to an employee once upon hiring.

Removing the annual pay notice mandate is a positive step forward for small
businesses already struggling under a heavily mandated business climate.

Scaffold Law
New York is the only
state that holds employers strictly liable for “gravity related injuries,” a
distinction that typifies its anti-business reputation. The strict liability
standard means that contractors, builders and other small businesses must pay 100%
of the damages when an injury occurs even when the injured worker is found to
have been negligent. In other words, an employee can ignore all of the required
safety procedures, injure himself as a result and then sue the boss for
millions of dollars. The employer in essence has no defense under the outdated
Scaffold Law, which drives up the cost of insurance for businesses, consumers
and taxpayers.

NFIB and a coalition of business groups are fighting for a more equitable comparative
negligence standard that takes into account a measurement of fault and awards
damages accordingly.

Common Sense Lawsuit Reform

Common sense lawsuit reform not only increases fairness but also makes
sense for New York’s taxpayers and economy. NFIB supports common sense lawsuit
reform as a way to reduce New York’s tax and property tax burdens, lower the
cost of doing business, encourage job growth, reduce the cost of government at
the state and local level and make health insurance more affordable.

Wicks Law Reform
The Wicks Law – a construction mandate dating back to 1912 – was put into
place to promote competition and protect workers’ rights. Wicks Law subjects
state and local governments (including school district construction projects)
to separate plumbing, heating/ventilation/air conditioning and electrical
contracts on construction projects that cost more than specific thresholds in
different areas of the state. This requirement has proven to be one of the most
onerous mandates facing local governments.

NFIB/NY supports repeal of the Wicks Law. Repeal of this mandate will help
stimulate our local economies by allowing municipalities to use a more
cost-effective approach to public projects. It also will remove a barrier for
communities that want to invest in much-needed infrastructure and capital
improvements. Absent repeal, NFIB/NY supports increasing the threshold to a
uniform $10 million threshold statewide.

Examination of
Environmental Regulations – SEQRA Reform

Small business owners
often cite the SEQRA process as an obstacle in developing projects that create
jobs.  The multiple layers of examination
and duplicate reviews of the same factors make projects costly and reduce New
York’s competitiveness with respect to attracting economic development.

NFIB/NY supports a review process that balances environmental protection and
economic growth. Definitive timelines and clearly designated levels of
evaluation and review status would streamline the process while allowing for
adequate examination of projects.

Safe Natural Gas

NFIB/NY believes that by
opening up the Marcellus Shale region to safe natural gas drilling, New York
will produce thousands of jobs and opportunities for small business.  It also would ease the demand for foreign
energy and bring down costs for consumers. In the 2011 NFIB member ballot, NFIB
asked small business owners if New York should drill for natural gas,
particularly in the Marcellus Shale region. An overwhelming 73 percent of our
members expressed support for drilling.

NFIB members agree that appropriate and necessary environmental and health
issues have been studied and that every precaution should be taken to ensure
public safety moving forward. Studies show that drilling can be done safely,
and it is time to allow the permitting process to begin.

Independent Contractors
NFIB supports the
creation of a universal definition of an “independent contractor.” A universal
definition provides standards and offers clarity to guide business owners in
correctly classifying individuals and avoiding fines for improperly
classification as an employee or independent contractor.

Product Bans
NFIB/NY supports the sensible regulation of products, especially those used in
manufacturing. More than a dozen consumer product safety laws already provide
oversight of products to ensure safety for intended use. Unilaterally banning
products that allegedly pose a risk to healthy, safety and the environment,
absent any scientific fact, puts jobs across many industries in jeopardy and
threatens manufacturing.

No New
Taxes, Fees or Toll Increases

NFIB opposes any tax, fee or toll increase on New York’s employers and
taxpayers. Small business—the engine that drives our economy—simply cannot
afford any more costs. After three fiscally responsible budgets, New York State
cannot revert back to its “tax and spend” ways.

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