Not Quite “Open for Business”

“Gamechanger”…”Open for Business”….”Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”…sound familiar?  If you follow politics in New York, it should!  Each of those phrases has been trumpeted over the last 16 months by both Governor Cuomo and members of the legislature.  Ahh..the spirit of exuberant optimism!

Unfortunately, not one of these phrases ring entirely true.  An article by Tom Precious in today’s Buffalo News describes the reality of New York’s business environment quite well.  We are not there yet and the finish line is a long, long ways off.

I hate to sound like a broken record…but what has really been accomplished? This is not to diminish the property tax cap, pension reform and power plant siting law…all were substantial achievements.  But with each rock unturned, new issues arise!  Think about it..

  • The tax cap needs substantial mandate relief to truly become effective.
  • The siting of power plants, rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure, sustaining existing businesses – large and small – all need significant regulatory reform.
  • The Regional Economic Development Council process has put significant finances behind regional projects…but each individual council identified similar issues in unemployment insurance, rising workers compensation and health care costs, etc.  Again…regulatory reform is needed.

And this really is the point that I have been trying to make this entire legislative session.  For all the achievements that the Governor and legislative leaders have been able to realize…they only further exposed the fundamental reasons why New York is where they are and has been for years.

As I said in the above mentioned article, we did hit the breaks on that runaway train.  But we have had to fight, and continue to fight, minimum wage increases, prevailing wage expansions, health care mandates, etc.  We are seeing significant increases in workers comp costs, health care costs and we still have solvency and loan issues with our unemployment insurance fund.

So let us not put those “open” signs on the store fronts just yet and lets not get too crazy with the backslapping here in Albany.  Some nice progress has been made, but the work is far from over.




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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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