More than 70 small business owners and business community advocates from Long Island to Buffalo attended NFIB New York’s virtual Small Business Day on March 17th, bringing the Voice of Small Business to Albany.
NFIB’s annual Small Business Day, held virtually again this year due to pandemic-related restrictions at the Capitol in Albany, was a jam-packed and productive event, attended by more than 70 small business owners and business community advocates, and influential lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the Senate and Assembly. NFIB’s New York State Director Ashley Ranslow led off the event with a brief legislative update and an overview of the organization’s priority issues heading into the final stretch of New York State Budget negotiations. All of the issues selected presented the broadest potential impact – both positive and negative – for our state’s small businesses and employer community. The key legislative priorities for the day included:
- Allocating unspent federal pandemic aid and/or state revenues to address New York’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund crisis.
- Supporting much needed and long-awaited small business tax relief.
- Opposing mandates to electrify buildings by prohibiting gas heating systems and appliances in new residential, commercial, and mixed-use buildings.
- Advocating for reforms to the state’s COVID sick leave law, which does not have a sunset date.
- Calling for passage of A.8054/S.7374, legislation that would provide small businesses 60 days to correct any violations associated with website accessibility before an ADA-related lawsuit can commence.
Small businesses owners were joined by Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, strong and unwavering allies of the small business community in New York State. They shared their insights and listened carefully to the concerns of small business owners.
Leader Ortt and Leader Barclay praised the work of NFIB and attested to the hard work, engagement, and activism of the organization. “I see NFIB in the halls of the Capitol everyday speaking on behalf of small business owners,” added Senator Ortt as he discussed how important small businesses are to the state’s economy and the need to continue to inform and educate lawmakers about the day-to-day challenges of running a small business.
After a 40-minute discussion and question and answer session with Leader Ortt and Leader Barclay, attendees were joined by Senator Anna Kaplan, Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Assemblyman John McDonald, and Assemblyman Billy Jones. Senator Kaplan and Assemblyman Stirpe, both chairs of the small business committees in their respective houses, pledged to continue being convincing and vocal advocates for small businesses in their Senate and Assembly majority conferences. Senator Kaplan spoke about being a ”staunch advocate for small businesses” and her initiatives to “cut UI employer contribution rates and ensure that all small businesses see tax relief.”
Assemblyman John McDonald added that as a small business owner “he walks the same path and understands why small businesses get frustrated with government.” The Assemblyman knows that New York can be more business friendly and advocate for common sense reforms, especially as it relates to state regulations and requirements.
Assemblyman Billy Jones, the lead sponsor on Small Business Tax Cuts, spoke about his commitment to “help small businesses instead of being a hinderance” and continuing to push for small business tax relief in the budget. Lastly, Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Chair of the Assembly Small Business committee, spoke about his work on the $800 million small business grant program, advocating for changes to the program to ensure that additional small businesses qualify and the money gets out the door as fast as possible.
NFIB’s New York Small Business Day was held at a pivotal time as the Governor, Senate, and Assembly negotiate the final New York State budget over the next two weeks. Allocating money to lower UI taxes, providing structural small business tax relief, and opposing mandates to electrify buildings are all areas under consideration, and the small business perspective must be communicated and delivered. Small Business Day is our chance to connect small business owners with lawmakers, but there’s more that can be done. Take a moment to contact your elected official today and share your small business story!