In the Starting Gate Filled with Uncertainty and Pessimism.

On the eve of the start of New York’s legislative session, it is alarming to look at the state of affairs for small business owners.

They are concerned.  They are not confident.  They do not feel that better days are in their immediate future.

While it is a natural part their entrepreneurial lives to deal with a large measure of uncertainty, we are entering dangerous territory.  Look no further than today’s historically poor small business survey conducted by NFIB.

Political uncertainty.  Minimal, if any, job creation.  Poor outlook for the next 6 months. While these statistics reflect small business nationally, here in New York, these feelings are alive and well.

In Washington DC, the election results coupled with the unknown impact of the upcoming debt ceiling debate, the fiscal cliff debacle, and the pending implementation of the Affordable Care Act all have small businesses on edge.

In New York, we have a continued minimum wage fight, lack of clarity to the natural gas development debate, the economic fallout and recovery from Superstorm Sandy, lack of mandate relief and the complete uncharted territory of the State Senate power sharing agreement have put small businesses in a very skeptical and cynical place.

Tomorrow’s speech by Governor Cuomo will cover many, many topics.  Some with more specificity than others.  But what I am looking for, what small business is looking for, is a message that the focus will return to the economy and small business.  That the taxpayers, schools and municipalities will see meaningful mandate relief.  That there will be a positive answer to the natural gas development question.

Small business will respond to that needed message of fiscal responsibility.  Optimism may creep up and the dense fog of uncertainty may start to lift.  The Governor’s message tomorrow can do that.  Lawmakers heeding this call can do that.

It starts tomorrow.

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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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