NFIB's NY Small Business Legislative Agenda for 2019

Date: January 07, 2019

Read the news release and view the full details!

ALBANY, Jan. 8, 2018 — NFIB, New York’s leading business association released its 2019 Small Business Agenda today. The document outlines dozens of policies and proposals to support and grow the small business economy in New York in 2019 and into the future.

“Independent business owners risk it all to bet on themselves and create opportunity in every community across New York. Unfortunately, Albany often stacks the deck against Main Street job creators by regulating too much, taxing too often, and reforming too little,” said Greg Biryla, NFIB’s NY State Director. “Small businesses, which employ nearly half the state’s private sector workforce, are the backbone of New York’s economy and the lifeblood of our middle class. NFIB’s agenda contains commonsense reforms and policies that will grow small businesses, create jobs, and make New York more economically competitive.”

NFIB’s top priorities for 2019 include:

  • Rejecting any new taxes on payroll, energy, or healthcare, and cutting income taxes for small businesses.
  • Protecting New York’s property tax cap and making it permanent.
  • Ending the one-size-fits-all model of regulation that fails to recognize the difference between small, local businesses and Fortune 500 corporations when enacting new labor and wage mandates.

“New York continues to face serious challenges with its high tax burden, troubling population trends, and an overly litigious, punitive regulatory structure that punishes investment and entrepreneurship. Any lawmaker who wants to grow our economy, support the middle class, and keep New Yorkers in New York should be embracing small businesses in their communities and pursuing policies to ensure their success,” Biryla added.

NFIB’s Full 2019 Small Business Legislative Agenda:

Taxes and Spending

New York’s high taxes are one the most significant challenges facing small businesses and their ability to invest, grow, and hire. New York is routinely ranked near the bottom nationally for income, property, and sales taxes by the independent Tax Foundation and ranked 48th in their 2019 state tax climate index.


  • Broad-based tax reductions and reforms to create a stronger business climate and make New York an affordable place to start and grow a small business.
  • A permanent property tax cap without new or additional exemptions and renewed efforts to reform burdensome, unfunded mandates that drive local government costs.
  • Increasing the personal income tax (PIT) exemption from 5% to 15% for small businesses.
  • Increasing the personal income tax (PIT) exemption from 5% to 20% for farm income.
  • Cutting the corporate tax rate for small businesses that are incorporated from 6.5% to 2.5%.
  • Strengthening 2016’s middle-class tax cuts.
  • Expiration of the so-called “millionaires’” surtax.
  • Tax reductions on private health insurance, transportation, and energy.
  • Estate tax reform.
  • Increasing the sales tax vendor credit from $200 to $400.
  • The self-imposed 2% spending cap and making it statutory.
  • Reforming the Triborough Amendment to New York’s Taylor Law.


  • New or elevated taxes that increase the costs of doing business and make New York State’s businesses less economically competitive.
  • Complex and mandatory taxing vehicles like the proposed unincorporated business tax (UBT).
  • Efforts to mitigate the benefits of federal tax reform, or recapture anticipated federal tax savings by implementing new state taxes.
  • New unfunded or underfunded state mandates on local governments.

Labor Mandates, Regulatory Relief, and Tort Reform

New York’s regulatory structure and bureaucracy are overly burdensome, redundant, litigious, and punitive. Small, independent businesses have fewer human and financial resources than large corporations and are disproportionately burdened by overregulation and frivolous lawsuits.


  • Making the State Administrative Procedures Act’s (SAPA) rulemaking process more transparent and inclusive of small business points of view.
  • Giving small business owners regulatory guidance and information to ensure compliance rather than imposing mandatory punitive penalties.
  • Protecting the 2017 workers’ compensation reforms and advancing additional cost-saving
  • Improving unemployment insurance so employer ratings are not penalized when employees return from paid leave or separate from employment voluntarily.
  • Legislation adopting clear definitions and distinctions between independent contractor and employee.
  • Sensible “right to repair” legislation.
  • Protecting small businesses from New York’s costly litigation system by enacting a cap on non-economic damages, increasing transparency for asbestos trust claims, reforming trespasser liability, and fairly distributing liability based on fault.
  • Medical malpractice reform.
  • Repeal of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA).


  • One-size-fits-all mandates, and overly restrictive regulations that fail to acknowledge the unique importance and fragility of small businesses.
  • Increasing New York’s minimum wage or accelerating its current implementation schedule.
  • Continued use of appointed wage boards to determine industry-specific wage policy.
  • Mandatory paid sick leave or paid leave for other purposes including vacation or personal time.
  • Expansion of New York’s Paid Family Leave program or transitioning any costs to employers.
  • Mandatory bereavement leave.
  • Predictive and restrictive scheduling mandates.
  • Elimination of the tipped worker credit.
  • Comparable worth or pay equity mandates, and salary and personal history inquiry limitations that prevent small businesses from identifying and hiring the best possible employees while exposing them to additional litigation.
  • A mandatory state-run retirement system for private sector employees.
  • Product bans of commonly used hospitality and retail materials like polystyrene, plastic bags, and straws.
  • Redundant over-regulation of chemical products that are already subject to stringent federal oversight.
  • Imposing costly, factory-style labor mandates on independent, family-owned farms.
  • Efforts to prevent or make it difficult for public employees to voluntarily opt-out of labor union fees that fund partisan political activities.

 Construction and Infrastructure

Investment in New York’s infrastructure assets and reform to outdated construction mandates are necessary to build a modern, connected economy and ensure both public and private construction projects are safe and affordable.


  • Continued infrastructure investment in Downstate’s MTA and Upstate’s roads and bridges.
  • Repealing Labor Law 240/241’s (Scaffold Law) standard of absolute liability.
  • Reforming prevailing wage to ensure it accurately reflects regional and trade compensation, making infrastructure investment more affordable.
  • Lifting or increasing the monetary thresholds that require multiple prime contractors under Wick’s Law.
  • Modernizing the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process to include predictable timelines to avoid state agency delays and cost escalation for development projects.
  • Reasonable participation goals for minority and women-owned (MWBE) contractors that reflect regional demographics and capacity.
  • Improvement to the New York’s MWBE registration process to reduce certification times and increase MWBE contractor capacity.
  • Broadband access and increased digital speeds in rural areas.


  • Efforts to reduce competition in construction bidding.
  • Redefining “public work” in New York to expand the application of prevailing wage to private development projects, or the use of mandatory apprenticeship programs to exclude independent contractors from bidding projects.
  • Mandatory project labor agreements.
  • New Thruway tolls.
  • New transit taxes or fees.

Healthcare Costs

The rising cost of health insurance is regularly cited by NFIB members as a top concern and impediment to business growth. New Yorkers pay some of the highest premiums in the nation for private health insurance. Taxes on healthcare and Albany-imposed coverage mandates add as much as 12% to premiums.


  • Measures to control and reduce the cost of health insurance
  • Reduction or elimination of the HCRA surcharge, the covered lives assessment, and other health insurance taxes.
  • The empaneling and funding of the Health Care Cost Containment Commission.
  • Additional transparency in the Department of Financial Services rate setting.
  • Requiring minimum healthcare contributions for public employees.
  • Medicaid reform.


  • A state-run, single payer, mandatory health insurance system in New York and any new payroll or other taxes to fund such a system.
  • New insurance mandates that increase premium costs but don’t have significant, documented public health benefits.


New York ratepayers pay among the highest energy costs in the nation. This is detrimental to both high volume end-users like manufacturers and Main Street businesses, increasing the costs of all goods and services across the economy.


  • Development of new natural gas transmission infrastructure.
  • Accessibility and availability of all standard, viable energy sources, including natural gas, wind, solar, hydro-electric and nuclear.
  • Easier intrastate transport of liquified natural gas.
  • Cost-benefit analysis of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) to protect consumers from increased energy costs.


  • Unrealistic renewable energy targets and mandates that ignore modern economic factors.
  • New taxes on energy, including carbon taxes.
  • Economically inefficient energy subsidies.
  • A statewide bioheating fuel mandate.

Economic Development

New York’s economy, especially the Upstate economy, continues to lag behind other states, which is increasingly problematic for small, independent businesses. New York’s small businesses are the driver of the state and local economy with more than 99% of all businesses classified as “small businesses”, employing 4 million people across our state.


  • Economic development policies that are fair, cost-effective and transparent
  • Broad-based tax cuts, fiscal discipline, and regulatory reforms to grow the state’s entire economy and create opportunity for new and existing small businesses.
  • Increased transparency and oversight of the state’s nearly $9 billion in economic development spending, including regular, independent auditing.

NFIB has concerns with inefficient economic development incentives and attraction programs that subsidize certain industries and businesses at the expense of existing New York State businesses.  


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