NFIB/NY Troubled by Rumor that Cuomo will Sit Out Fight over Mandate Relief

Albany (August 23, 2012) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today said that Governor Cuomo should set the record straight on whether he favors repealing a law that lets public unions keep their current contracts long after they expire.

“There’s a rumor swirling around Albany this morning that Governor Cuomo has assured labor leaders that he won’t push to repeal the Triborough Amendment, which gives unions a massive advantage over taxpayers,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.  “That would be very disappointing and we certainly hope that it isn’t true.”

Crain’s Business reported this morning, based on an anonymous source, that Governor Cuomo told labor bosses at a recent meeting that he won’t ask the Legislature to repeal a section of the Taylor Law, known as the Triborough Amendment, which allows unions to keep their contracts indefinitely even though they’ve expired.  Many municipal and county officials, including New York City Mike Bloomberg, have urged lawmakers to repeal the provision because it removes any incentive for labor groups to bargain in good faith.

“State and local governments all over the country are buckling under the weight of these overly generous labor contracts and New York is no exception,” said Durant.  “The Triborough Amendment tips the scale in favor of government unions at the expense of taxpayers and we’ll never get control of local spending as long as it remains in place.”

He noted that the local property tax is the biggest tax burden for most small businesses in New York.

“Giving local officials more flexibility to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers is the key to making New York more affordable for businesses and families,” said Durant.  “I’m sure that the Governor understands that and I would doubt very highly that he has closed the door on repealing the Triborough Amendment.”

Durant urged Cuomo to clarify his position so that small businesses and property owners know exactly where he stands on the issue.

“He shouldn’t let this rumor persist because the issue is too important,” said Durant.  “The Governor should make it clear that the law has to change with the times.  Small businesses are struggling.  Middle class families are struggling.  And local governments are struggling to provide basic services.

“Mandate relief is the key to long-term tax relief,” he continued.  “The Governor is very popular and he has the power to press this debate.  He’s hasn’t been afraid to take on the tough issues and we expect him to lead on this issue as well.”

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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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