NY Small Business Urges Cuomo to Block Toll Hike

Albany (May 31, 2012) – Governor Cuomo should block a 45-percent toll increase proposed yesterday by the New York Thruway Authority because it will punish small trucking firms, farmers and consumers, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.

“There are a lot of short-haul truckers and farmers in New York who won’t be able to absorb this increase without raising prices, cutting workers or spending less in the economy,” said Mike Durant, State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Another concern, according to Durant, is that the massive increase apparently won’t be used for the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which officials say will be financed another way.

“At the very least, we deserve to know more about how they’re going to finance the bridge project, which will cost billions, before we approve this increase,” said Durant. “Otherwise they’ll be back again next year asking for another huge increase that small businesses, consumers and commuters can’t afford.”

He pointed out that motorists and truckers are likely to try to avoid the higher tolls by using local roads instead.

“That creates more traffic, more pollution and more pressure on property taxes to repair local roads that aren’t designed for the weight of the trucks and volume of traffic,” said Durant. “The Governor should analyze this very carefully and work with the Authority to find another way to pay for improvements.”

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

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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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