March Madness!

Yes…the basketball tournament has begun, but before we all get glued to our televisions or radios, significant “madness” occurred in and around the State Capitol last night (or very, very early this morning).

What started as an agreement on redistricting late yesterday afternoon quickly progressed to an avalanche of legislative activity.  As the sun rose, legislation was passed on most of the major items that have been debated so far this year.  From NFIB/NY’s perspective, the most significant agreement was on pension reform (Tier VI).

Since this blog adventure started for me a few weeks ago, the bulk of the content has been on the Tier VI debate.  Reigning in the costs that are causing enormous fiscal strain on our schools and communities is paramount to ensuring a prosperous future for New York.    Pension costs were a significant barrier for school districts and communities of all sizes.  Critical services were being threatened, the possibility of layoffs were real and the burden on taxpayers was severely impacting both consumers and small business owners alike.  Action was needed.  Real action.

While the eventual agreement on Tier VI was not exactly what Governor Cuomo had proposed, it solidly took a step forward and helped create more equity between the private and public sector as well as provide adequate protections for New York’s financial future.

NFIB/NY was proud to work with both the legislature and Governor on this important issue and this morning thanked them for their commitment to seeing this needed reform through.

As the dust settles, the coming days will see resolution to the state budget and what I hope is a significant focus on the immediate financial concerns for New York’s small business owners and taxpayers.

There is more work to be done, there always is.  But the madness so far this March hasn’t busted any brackets. Well…maybe it has for a few.

 

 

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About Mike Durant

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of NFIB in May 2011. Prior to joining NFIB as the Assistant State Director in May 2010, Durant began his career in the New York Senate working in the Office of Member Services. From there, he served in a number of positions during former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s administration. As a Research Specialist in the New York State Office of Demographic Policy, Mike was responsible for drafting a redistricting proposal for Governor Pataki. In addition, Mike served as a Research Specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation, as well as the Associate Commissioner of Human Resource Management with the New York Department of Labor. Durant also spent four years working at the Questar III BOCES as a specialist focusing on the complex formulas that drive aid to school districts across the state while also taking a lead role in the state legislative/budget process as it related to education policy. These past positions have given Mike a deep understanding of the complex political economics of the State of New York. Active in the community, Durant has served on a number of boards in both the village of Ballston Spa and Town of Milton. Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York and resides in Ballston Spa with his wife and two children.
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