NFIB on Chamber Report: Don’t Pop the Champagne Corks Yet

Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report that ranks New York 10th in the nation in economic performance.   Now, New York rarely, if ever, receives good marks in the areas of taxes, regulatory and business climate, etc.  And without a doubt, the Governor has issued some glowing comments on today’s news.

That said, I am skeptical at best and I know from listening to small business owners, New York is not performing at a high level just yet.  My statement on today’s report is below.

A new report by the US Chamber of Commerce showing a generally better climate for business in New York is encouraging, but a deeper analysis would show that employers in the largest segment of the state’s economy are not yet ready to celebrate, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“The big financial houses and universities may be doing well, but small businesses are still struggling beneath the highest taxes in the country and they’re still dealing with a hostile regulatory culture in Albany,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.

Durant said that while the Cuomo administration has brought a positive change of attitude to state government, its reforms haven’t been in place long enough to yield the dramatic results that small businesses need to feel more optimistic.

“The property tax cap and pension reform were important, but without additional mandate relief for local governments, it won’t significantly address the highest property taxes in America,” he said.  “The past few weeks alone have been marked by talk of significant toll increases, escalating workers compensation costs and as we entire the last week of the legislative session, we are still fighting a minimum wage hike and an expansion of the prevailing wage mandate.

“The trajectory is obviously not fully changed in New York and there is much work left to be done.”

The Chamber report shows a big jump for New York in terms of growth, productivity and livability.  But it also shows that most of the gains are confined to a few big industries like finance.

“The Chamber report is definitely good news but let’s not read too much into it,” said Durant.  “We’ve dug ourselves a very deep hole over the course of decades with some very self-indulgent policies that we can’t afford.  And almost every day in Albany we have to beat back efforts to increase taxes, increase mandates and increase regulations that would destroy jobs and small businesses.  I don’t want anyone in the Legislature getting the wrong idea.

“Governor Cuomo has charted a good course, but we have to stick to it,” he continued.  “We can’t let them slouch back into their old habits or the good news won’t last very long.”

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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