NFIB/NY on end of Session: Not Much Damage, But Not Much Help

Date: June 20, 2014

Related Content: News State New York

Albany (June
20, 2014)
– The
state’s leading advocate for small business owners, representing more than
10,000 members, today said the legislative session that came to an end today in
Albany didn’t cause much damage to the economy but didn’t improve much either.


“The main
beneficiaries this year of the tax initiatives this year are big corporations,”
said National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) State Director Mike
Durant.  “But small businesses in New
York didn’t gain much from this session.”


Cuomo and lawmakers this year pushed through some tax reforms that provide
targeted relief for manufacturers and larger corporations.  But they took a pass on other reforms that
are much more important to small businesses.


“For years
we’ve been calling for mandate relief that would get to the heart of New York’s
worst-in-the-country property tax problem,” said Durant.  “The property tax is the biggest tax burden
for many small businesses and we regret that Albany did nothing this year to
address that issue.”


missing from the agenda, said Durant, was an effort to reform the state’s
Scaffold Law, which makes contractors liable for workplace accidents even when
the employees are at fault.


“We’re the
only state in the country with that law and it puts a target on the backs of
construction companies and contractors who are routinely dragged into court and
made to pay very high damage awards even when they’re not responsible,” he
said.  “It’s a big disincentive for small
businesses and it drives up costs for taxpayers because it inflates the cost of
every public capital project.”


One bright
spot for small business owners is an increase in the Estate Tax Exemption,
which makes it easier for farmers and small business owners to pass their
businesses to their heirs without government scooping up a big percentage of
the assets. 


But New
York’s income tax remains among the highest in the country.  That hurts small business owners especially
since they generally file as individuals, not corporations.


people don’t realize that two thirds of small business owners pay the income
tax, not the corporate tax.  So the
income tax is really a tax on small businesses,” said Durant.  “As long as we have one of the highest income
taxes in the country we’ll be a tough place for entrepreneurs to start, operate
or expand a business.”


Durant said
that while small business owners are disappointed in the lack of progress this
year they are hopeful that state leaders will address some of their issues when
they return in the fall.


“New York
ranks at or near the bottom of every business survey because it has failed for
decades to address these issues,” he said. 
“We can’t be competitive as long as these problems remain and they need
to be the Legislature’s top priorities when they return.”


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