NFIB/NY Backs Zeldin in NY-01

Albany (June 12, 2014) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today announced its support for State Senator Lee Zeldin in New York’s 1st Congressional District race.

“New York is a tough place for small business owners and no one has fought harder on their behalf than Lee Zeldin,” said NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant.

NFIB is the country’s leading advocate for small business owners representing roughly 10,000 members in New York.  The group endorses candidates based on their voting record on key issues identified by its members such as health care, taxes, labor and regulatory issues.  NFIB tracks votes at the state and federal  levels.  In this term Zeldin earned a 94 percent score on the NFIB Voting Record.  He received a perfect 100 percent score in the last term.

By contrast his potential opponent, Rep. Tim Bishop, has a lifetime 21 percent voting record on small business issues.

“Lee Zeldin has been rock-steady on small business issues and Congressman Bishop simply hasn’t been reliable,” said Durant.  “Our members know they can count on Lee Zeldin to represent their interests in Washington and we’re very proud to support his candidacy.”

NFIB Vice President Lisa Goeas, who heads the organization’s political and grassroots operation, said it’s important for the country to have more people in Washington like Lee Zeldin who understand the importance of small business.

“Small business is the engine of job growth and prosperity and Lee Zeldin knows it,” she said.  “Every member of Congress and every candidate claims to care about small business but many don’t have a voting record to match their rhetoric.  Lee Zeldin’s record in a tough state speaks for itself and we think he can be very competitive in what could be a swing district this cycle.”

Zeldin’s endorsement was made by the NFIB SAFE Trust, the organization’s political action committee.  Surveys show that small business owners are influential in their communities and NFIB members in New York’s 1st Congressional District will work hard this year to send Lee Zeldin to Washington.

For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.

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Cuomo against … his own agenda?

Today’s NY Post ran the following op-ed that I wrote in response to the Governor’s sudden shift in agenda.  The online version can be found here.

Cuomo against … his own agenda?

Would a pro-business candidate back an agenda that seeks to raise labor costs for small employers, hike New York’s already-too-high taxes and create new avenues for trial lawyers to drag small businesses into court?

Would he make a political bargain with a group that thinks that ObamaCare doesn’t go far enough? These questions answer themselves.

Yet that’s exactly what Gov. Cuomo did in order to win the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a left-wing outfit whose own Web site dubs the governor’s fiscal plan the “Inequality Budget,” despite spending almost $140 billion (including federal grants).

The WFP clamors for increased spending virtually across the board and for higher taxes to foot the bill.

The Working Families Party had been publicly threatening to run its own candidate for governor this year, something Cuomo wanted badly to avoid.

So, to pacify the aggressively anti-business WFP, he agreed to publicly embrace key parts of its agenda — and to break with the handful of Democratic state senators who’ve allied with Senate Republicans to stray from the hard-left agenda.

Cuomo’s hard-left shift is a shock not just to small-business owners but also to many taxpayers.

Cuomo’s hard-left shift is a shock not just to small-business owners but also to many taxpayers. After all, the governor has spent nearly his entire first term — and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars — creating the image of a moderate determined to grow the economy.

You can’t watch TV without seeing his glittery ads touting the state’s new “pro-business” policies.

Now he’s in a pickle. The state’s business community has been supportive of many of the governor’s economic initiatives.

That includes the group I head, the New York branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents nearly 11,000 small businesses in our state.

We praised his pension reform and property-tax cap three years ago. Same for most of the tax cuts he enacted this year, including lower corporate taxes, lower taxes for manufacturers and a lower estate tax.

On the other hand, we had hoped he’d join us on some other reforms that we’ve been pushing for years. One is a lower income tax, since small business owners mostly file as individuals.

Another is one we believe vital to making his local-tax reforms fully effective: mandate relief — reducing the spending burdens that the state orders local governments to take on. It’s hard for localities to limit taxes when Albany won’t let them streamline their own spending.

We also agree with a growing number of editorial pages that have called for the repeal of the New York’s one-of-a-kind Scaffold Law, which makes construction needlessly expensive but benefits only trial lawyers at the expense of small employers and taxpayers.

Before Cuomo embraced the WFP, there was some reason to believe that these reforms could come to fruition.

No more — not with the governor’s new alliance with the Working Families Party, whose goals are completely incompatible with the pro-growth policies that New York needs.

Gov. Cuomo can’t plausibly claim, on the one hand, that he intends to reduce income taxes, reform Scaffold, reduce government spending or curb regulations and, on the other hand, pledge his allegiance to a fringe political party that is at perpetual war with the business community and taxpayers.

We were more supportive of the governor who said in his first State of the State Address that “New York has no future as the tax capital of America.”

That sounded like a leader who understands the state’s real economic challenges and who can bridge the partisan divide with common-sense economic policies.

The candidate who made a deal with the Working Families Party sounds very different.

Mike Durant is New York state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents hundreds of thousands of small-business owners across the country and more than 10,000 members statewide.

 

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NFIB/NY Urges Congressional Reps to Pass Tax Relief Bill Thursday

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), representing 11,000 small business owners in New York, today urged its congressional delegation to support a tax-relief bill that garnered strong bipartisan support in the past and which would be a shot in the arm for small businesses in a rough economy.

“This is an extremely high priority for New York small businesses and farmers and we think that our congressional representatives should make it their priority to pass,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.

The bill, HR 4457, also known as the Small Business Tax Relief Act, would allow small business owners to deduct the full cost of up to $500,000 in new machinery, vehicles and other capital assets in the same year they make the investments.  That’s a major change from the current system, under which businesses can deduct only $25,000 in new equipment.  For investments above that level, small businesses can only deduct a portion of the depreciated value each year.

“Those reforms would allow small business owners to recoup more of their investments and to do so much sooner than the current system allows,” said Durant.  “It would create an immediate incentive for small businesses to invest in themselves, grow and create jobs.”

It would also simplify the tax filing requirements for small business owners who would no longer have to repeat the same exercise every year possibly for a decade or more.

“Most New York small businesses don’t have in-house tax experts and consultants to help them navigate the system and the paperwork,” said Durant.  “So there’s an immediate tax benefit that also reduces for small business owners the cost and time required for tax preparation, filing and compliance.”

NFIB has listed the bill among its key votes for this session.  It will be part of the scorecard, in other words, and according to Durant the state’s congressional delegation should give it bipartisan support.

“There’s a real chance for permanent, bipartisan tax relief in this Congress, and it’s this bill,” said Durant.  “Our members are very strongly urging their congressional representatives to vote for this measure on Thursday.”

Click here to read about NFIB’s position on the bill.  To learn more about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.

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NFIB Response to Governor’s Agreement with the Working Families Party

“This weekend, Governor Cuomo sent a regressive message to both small business and taxpayers. The Governor is directly threatening the viability of Main Street solely for personal political gain. This abrupt shift on critical issues and unfathomable embrace of a tax and spend era of New York are a major cause for concern.

Small business has largely been left behind the last two years by this administration. These events only further the gap between the needs of small business and the Governor and should be alarming to those organizations that seek to broadly transform our tax and business climate.”

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Can Government Engage in Anticompetitive Conduct?

If you run a business renting bikes, it is definitely going to be a problem if your municipality should start a program renting out bikes at below market rates to tourists. Of course, these issues come up from time to time. Unfortunately, there is not usually much that can be done when government is simply subsidizing services. One might argue that this is not the proper role of government, but that’s a philosophical objection—not a legal argument.

However, if government actors are affirmatively competing with your business, shouldn’t they be held to the same rules and standards as you are? In all fairness, the answer should be yes. I lay out the case for why in this post.

As explained more thoroughly in a recent law review article with Jarod Bona, federal antitrust law should apply just the same to state and local actors as it applies to private businesses. Bona explains the inherent unfairness of allowing government to engage in anticompetitive conduct in this article, putting the issue in baseball terms: What do you do when the umpire is playing against you?

We argue that, at least in some cases, government should be held liable for anticompetitive conduct—even regulatory conduct when it seeks to displace private competition in the market. For example, a City might be held liable in antitrust if it should use the power of eminent domain to eliminate competition for a public parking garage, or if it should use its power to enact zoning laws to prevent businesses from competing with another public enterprise. This is a controversial issue to some extent, and one that the Courts are divided on. But, we think in all fairness to small business—its time the courts begin applying antitrust laws to public actors when they are actively competing with private business. Fair is fair.

If you are facing an issue of this nature, please feel free to contact the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.

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Five Things Every Parent – and Small Business Owner – Should Know About Summer Jobs

School’s winding down, and a lot of high-school students will try to get a summer job. Summer jobs are good for students. They pay real money, which can come in handy, and a lot of businesses offer employee discounts, which are a great way to stretch a dollar.

Working over summer break has other benefits, too. Summer jobs can help build confidence and character, teach responsibility, and give students real-world experience that college admissions officers and future employers may appreciate. Summer jobs can also give students a better idea of what they do – or don’t – want to pursue as a career. But there are some important things you as a parent should know about your student’s job opportunities (employers should be aware of these, too):

The rules apply to them. Just because they’re in school doesn’t mean employers can take advantage of them. Minors are entitled to the same minimum wage, overtime, and safety and health protections as adults. When it comes to work, the federal wage and hour law, officially known as the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, applies to everyone, regardless of age. Other federal and state workplace laws apply to them, too.

  • Students 13 and younger have limited options when it comes to summer jobs. Federal law says they’re too young for most non-farming jobs, such as working in a store or restaurant, but there are still jobs they can do. They’re allowed to babysit and perform minor chores around a private home, and if you own a business, they’re allowed to work for you.
  • If they’re 14 or 15, their prospects are better. Students in this age bracket areallowed to perform jobs such as bagging groceries, waiting tables and working in an office, but they can’t use power-driven machinery, such as lawn mowers, lawn trimmers, and weed cutters. They also aren’t allowed to work more than 40 hours a week.
  • If they’re 16 or 17, they’re allowed to work up a sweat and earn serious money.  There’s no limit to the number of hours 16- and 17-year-olds can work, and they’re allowed to work basically any job that isn’t declared hazardous, provided all other FLSA and state labor requirements are met.
  • If they’re 18 or older, legally, they’re adults. It doesn’t matter that they’re still in school. In the eyes of the law, they’re grown up, and that means they can do pretty much any job for which they’re qualified.

Finally, keep in mind that many states have child labor rules that are even more protective than the federal FLSA rules. Employers must always follow the rules that provides employees with greater protections.

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Why is NFIB and NFIB Legal Center So Concerned About the Federal Government’s Clean Water Act Land-Grab?

$37,500 Per Day in Penalties for a CWA Violation

Not too long ago, NFIB Small Business Legal Center came to the defense of an ordinary Idaho couple facing serious heat from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mike and Chantell Sackett were looking at ruinous fines for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. We’re talking shock-and-awe tactics here.

EPA was threatening to impose $37,500 per day in fines because the Agency believed the Sacketts had illegally filled a wetland when they began laying the foundation for their dream home. But that didn’t make any sense to the Sacketts because their property wasn’t wet in the least, and was entirely surrounded by other developments. Until EPA came knocking they had no idea that their property might potentially be considered a “wetland” under the CWA.

The Scope and Reach of the CWA is Notoriously Unclear

Of course, there is a lot of room for lawyers to argue over whether any given property falls within EPA’s jurisdiction. To be sure, the jurisdictional reach of the CWA is notoriously unclear. But that hasn’t stopped the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from making untenable assertions of jurisdiction, as in the Sackett case. Even crazier, EPA wasn’t even going to let the Sacketts dispute its jurisdiction—but was instead insisting that they needed to restore their property to its natural state at great expense, or face an additional $37,500 per day in fines. So that would have been $75,000 in daily fines for the Sacketts—all because they began building on a dry section of their property, without realizing that they were stepping into an environmental minefield.

The Mere Assertion of Jurisdiction is usually a Death Knell for Development Plans

The Sacketts had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court just to secure their right to have a day in court to dispute EPA’s assertion of CWA jurisdiction. And now they are embroiled in an protracted legal battle over whether in fact their property is—or is not—a jurisdictional wetland for the purposes of the CWA. If it is, then they are facing monstrous liabilities for illegally filling-in a wetland. If it isn’t, then EPA has—once more—overstepped in manner that has surely caused terrible stress, anxiety and grief to the Sackett family.

Luckily the Sacketts have found pro bono counsel, at Pacific Legal Foundation, to help with their legal battle. But most folks facing a potentially ruinous EPA enforcement action would have no choice but to settle because of the astronomical costs of litigating a full-blown jurisdictional case with the federal government. Indeed, the legal costs alone are enough to burry most small business owners and ordinary individuals—even when the Agency is truly in the wrong.

And when you factor in the reality that a jurisdictional battle is always going to be a crapshoot—because folks of reasonable intelligence often disagree on the reach of the CWA—it shouldn’t be surprising that most people feel that they have no choice but to capitulate to the Agency’s demands when EPA or Army Corp assert jurisdiction. That means giving up on any hope of ever developing on that portion of your property—or for that matter making any economically beneficial use at all. Of course, if you make a mistake and begin using a portion of your land that the Agency later says is a wetland, you are usually left with little choice but to pay a big-time settlement to avoid an even more devastating enforcement action. In practical terms, this means that the Agencies can literally scare small business owners, and ordinary landowners into leaving their property in a natural undeveloped state—a result that the environmental crusaders encourage.

An Assertion of Jurisdiction Greatly Devalues Private Property

Suffice it to say, it’s a big deal if the government asserts that your property contains wetlands because that means you can’t do anything with your land—at least not with the portion covered by the CWA. Theoretically you could apply for a permit in some cases. But those permits are exceedingly difficult to obtain, and exorbitantly expensive. As of 2006 the average permit cost the applicant over $270,000. So for these reasons, the mere assertion that a portion of your property is covered by the CWA means an immediate—and serious—depreciation in value.

This is why NFIB and NFIB Small Business Legal Center take CWA issues so seriously. We know that small business owners invest substantial resources when acquiring real property. For many businesses your property is essential for your operations. So we know how difficult it is if government tells you that a portion of your land is essentially off-limits. And we know that, if you have tied up tremendous resources in your land, it’s a serious financial blow when government regulation depreciates the value of your property.

EPA and Army Corps Say the Proposed Regulation Will Not Hurt Small Business?

As detailed in Monday’s post, EPA and Army Corps are currently in the process of finalizing a new regulation that will radically expand CWA jurisdiction. We’re calling this a massive regulatory land-grab because the Agencies will make it effectively impossible for many landowners to use portions of their land that were never previously considered “jurisdictional wetlands.” In other words, your private properly will become—essentially—nature preserve.

Amazingly EPA and Army Corp are claiming that this regulatory land-grab will have no adverse impact on the small business community. Without being hyperbolic, we can say that is definitively not true because—as explained earlier—whenever the Agencies assert CWA jurisdiction, private property values are seriously depreciated. And of course in so radically asserting jurisdiction, the Agencies will only be imposing financial hardships on businesses, and discouraging economic development. So it is not clear how the Agencies can even make this assertion with a straight face.

Their claim is that, in radically expanding CWA jurisdiction, they’re actually helping small business by bringing regulatory predictability. And of course it is true that small business generally appreciates predictability. But one cannot claim to be giving a benefit to small business by resolving every issue in favor of federal regulatory powers, and against the right of business owners to make reasonable uses of their own property. That line of argument is a classic subterfuge. Simply put, the federal CWA land-grab is going to hurt small business and the Agencies know it.

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Boiling-Down the Federal Government’s Clean Water Act Land-Grab

NFIB and NFIB Small Business Legal Center are currently in the process of preparing comments, which we will soon submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, voicing small business concerns and legal objections to newly proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations that we believe amount to a massive regulatory land-grab. This is a hot button issue because EPA and Army Corps are seeking to expand their regulatory powers in a manner that will severely impact many landowners throughout the country—including many small business owners. This hits closest to home for ranchers, farmers, and anyone making intensive use of their property—especially folks in the construction industry. But, the truth is that it is going to affect any business with real estate that might potentially be said to contain wetlands under the new regulations.

For this reason NFIB and NFIB Legal Center are taking the proposed CWA regulations very seriously. As always, we are standing up to the federal government on behalf of the little guy. Here is a quick recap of what the CWA is and how the federal government is working to expand its jurisdiction beyond what Congress intended, and beyond what the Constitution will allow.

What is the CWA?

The CWA is a federal law that is designed to protect the integrity of our nation’s waters by eliminating pollutant discharges into the “waters of the United States.” While this is certainly a laudable goal, it is enforced with rather draconian measures ($37,500 per day fines). The CWA doesn’t just prohibit companies from dumping toxins into the water. It’s much more comprehensive than that. The CWA prohibits any sort of filling, or dredging of “wetlands.” This means that its essentially impossible—at least without a costly permit—to make economically beneficial uses of a lands covered by the CWA. But, the beef is usually in figuring out what is—and is not—a jurisdictional wetland.

CWA Jurisdiction is a Difficult Issue

EPA and Army Corps have long been bothered by the fact that it is sometimes difficult for them to prove CWA jurisdiction. This is because the CWA’s reach is always a murky question. We know that Congress gave the Agencies the power to regulate “waters of the united states.” But that’s a pretty vague charge. Not surprisingly, the Agencies have long tried to interpret this to mean that they have the authority to regulate anything and everything wet—conceivably even a mud-puddle. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly rebuffed the Agencies for making overly aggressive assertions of jurisdiction.

Most recently in 2006 the Supreme Court held that EPA had over-reached in asserting CWA jurisdiction over any water that “migratory birds” might visit. The Court reaffirmed that the Constitution places limits on the Agency’s jurisdictional reach, such that jurisdictional wetlands must bear a close connection, or nexus, to “traditional navigable waters.” This means that the Agencies must prove that a regulated wetland is connected to a stream or river that could in fact be used for commercial purposes. Of course the further we get away from conventional water bodies (bays, sounds, lakes, rivers, streams, etc.), the more murky things get. At what point is a marsh or mudflat going to be considered a wetland? At what point will we consider a mere indentation in the ground—that occasionally has water overflow—a jurisdictional wetland?

These are very difficult questions. They are so difficult that the Supreme Court could not agree on how to draw the line. In fact the Supreme Court’s decision in Rapanos v. United States was so divided that the Court gave us two different tests. This left everyone scratching their head, as it seemingly made a complicated issue more confusing than ever.

Expanding the Reach of the CWA

In response EPA and Army Corps released a guidance document in 2008, which aimed to help the Agencies figure out when to assert CWA jurisdiction under the Rapanos tests. But, under President Obama, the EPA and Army Corp. have taken a more aggressive stance on these jurisdictional issues. The Agencies are apparently frustrated by how difficult and fact intensive it is to prove jurisdiction under the Rapanos tests. So they have been looking for ways to make it easier to assert jurisdiction over lands that have very tenuous connections—if any—to commercially navigable waters.

First in 2012 the Agencies proposed a new guidance document that would have expanded CWA jurisdiction to include any land over which water occasionally flows that feeds into any watershed. The result would have been a radical regulatory land-grab. But the Agencies changed course, concluding that it would be more effective to promulgate an official regulation. And so now EPA and Army Corps have proposed a regulation that will do the same thing. By their own admission, the new regulation will expand CWA jurisdiction by at least three percent. But, given that the Agencies are now asserting jurisdiction over entire watersheds, we think that’s a very low-ball estimation. To be sure, EPA will now be asserting CWA jurisdiction over more than a million square miles of land—or 41% of the lower 48 states—in the Mississippi watershed alone.

If this is an issue of concern to you, we recommend that you continue following the NFIB Blog for further updates. Also, you can follow NFIB Legal Center on Facebook for the most current updates.  And if you are a NFIB member specifically concerned that the new regulations will affect you, we invite you to contact us.

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First Amendment Concerns and Equal Protection Problems: Why Government Can’t Force a Non-Consenting Business into a Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Fresno Business Journal ran a great editorial last week from NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center’s Executive Director, Karen Harned, on a hot-button issue that’s gotten a lot of attention lately. The case comes out of California’s Central Valley—America’s breadbasket. At issue is a controversial regime that literally forces business owners to enter collective bargaining agreements with union operatives.

Gerawan Farming is a long-running family owned business that built its success through innovative farming practices, by maintaining strong employer-employee relations, and by attracting motivated employees with generous compensation arrangements—well in excess of the state mandated minimum wage. But Gerawan Farming is now in a protracted legal battle with a union—United Farm Workers of America (UFW)—which is trying to force the company into a collective bargaining agreement that would require the company to change its business practices. Among other things the contested agreement would require the company to raise its rate of pay even higher, and would set working conditions above and beyond what is required by state law.

When Gerawan Farming refused to enter an agreement with UFW—on the legitimate ground that the proposed contract was not in the company’s best interest—the Union asked the State of California to force the parties into an agreement. And pursuant to California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the State has authority to do just that: i.e. to compel a non-consenting business to enter a collective bargaining agreement. Accordingly, UFW got its way. The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board issued an order forcing the parties into “mandatory interest arbitration,” which culminated in a binding agreement—i.e. a compelled contract.

This might sound crazy on first blush because an “agreement” implies that the parties agree to the terms of a contract. In fact, by definition a contract requires a “meeting of the minds.” So there is something bizarre about the notion that government would seek to compel non-consenting parties into an “agreement.” And, as we argued in our amicus brief to the California Court of Appeal, government cannot compel a meeting of the minds without violating the First Amendment.

For one it would be downright Orwellian for government to seek to literally compel a “meeting of the minds.” And further, businesses have a First Amendment right to oppose unionization. This entails a right to refuse to ascend to an objectionable contract with a union because assent is by its nature a communicative act—i.e. an endorsement of something the company does not wish to endorse. Moreover, forcing a company into a contract with a union violates First Amendment protections guarantying freedom of association. 

So as we argue, it really doesn’t make sense to say that California forced the parties into an agreement in this case. Gerawan Farming never agreed to anything. To the contrary, the company is fighting a legal battle for its right to reject government imposed directives.

We argue that in forcing a “collective bargaining agreement” upon Gerawan Farming, the State has simply imposed individualized rules governing how the company must run its operations. Under the State’s order, Gerawan must pay its employees more than the generally applicable statewide minimum wage, and the company must abide by special requirements governing working conditions. In other words, the company has been targeted for special regulatory burdens for no reason other than that UFW has asked for special regulations to be imposed. But this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Equal Protection Clause protects business owners from targeted regulatory impositions unless government has a rational basis for singling a business out. And the mere fact that a self-interested labor union has asked for special regulations is not a good enough reason. Simply put, compelled collective bargaining agreements are flat-out unconstitutional. Once again, NFIB is on the front lines – and literally court-side – fighting for your small business.

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Survey Showing New Yorkers Eager to Leave Means Big-Govt. Policies Aren’t Producing Opportunities

A new Gallup Survey showing that more than four in 10 New Yorkers want to move should force policymakers in Albany to rethink what they’re doing.

“New York has a government program for every problem, a regulation for every business, a trial lawyer on every corner and the highest taxes in America,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant. “The result is that more New Yorkers than Alaskans plan to relocate. Something is wrong with this picture.”

According to the survey, 41 percent of residents would leave New York if they could. A plurality of those would leave for work or business-related reasons, according to Gallup.

“That tells us that the Big Government Model isn’t working,” said Durant. “New York isn’t producing enough opportunities to keep New Yorkers here. We’ve had more out-migration over the last 10 years than any state in America and this survey indicates that the exodus isn’t close to slowing down.”

Durant said that while Governor Cuomo has nudged the state in the right direction with targeted tax breaks for certain businesses, there’s a lot more that needs to be done to keep New Yorkers home.

“The natural gas industry is creating unprecedented prosperity in some states and New York has made a policy decision to let our own resources remain underground,” he said. “New York’s Scaffold Law is a one-of-a-kind racket for trial lawyers that is killing construction and robbing taxpayers, and nobody in Albany has the stomach for reform.”

Durant said that on taxes, New York should stop nibbling around the edges and make it possible for everyone who earns a paycheck to keep more of their money.

“Most small business owners pay income taxes, not corporate taxes and New York has one of the highest income taxes in the country. The best way to make New York more attractive for middle class families and middle class entrepreneurs is to let them keep the money they earn.”

Durant noted that in addition to economic opportunities, people in the Gallup survey listed various other reasons for wanting to relocate, including family, weather, quality of life and change. No one, apparently, is yearning for the cradle-to-grave, Nanny State government that slurps up so much money and prevents economic growth.

“If big government were popular New York would have to build a wall to keep people out,” said Durant. “But the truth is that New Yorkers have a different vision, and they’re leaving to find it somewhere else.”

For more information about NFIB, please log on to http://www.nfib.com.

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