As the legislative session begins to wind down, legislative leaders start to get their ducks in a row and make the final push to squeeze every bit of work into those waning final hours. This session was an infamous several months that saw two of Albany’s most powerful leaders topple, an overwhelmingly poor budget, and little to help small businesses or the middle class. But, fortunately for us, the clock has not struck 12 and we still have a chance to do what is right for New Yorkers.
It seems like forever since we have seen large-scale businesses tax and regulatory relief in New York. As a small-business owner for over four decades, I know the daily struggles and frustrations of owning a business here. Simple expansions or financial changes are met with hundreds of pages of regulations, and that doesn’t take into account the slew of taxes paid by business owners.
To spur New York’s lackluster economy we need real business tax relief so employers can afford to hire more employees and retain larger profits that they will ultimately reinvest into their businesses. Too often legislative initiatives have targeted only the politically connected or promised to create jobs while falling short. I sponsor the Small Business Full Employment Act, A.5898, which would prohibit new unfunded mandates and provide a host of tax and regulatory relief measures to spur small business growth. It is time we embrace New York’s business climate and create jobs for our thousands of college graduates.
It is time once and for all to clean up Albany’s corruption and restore the people’s faith in government. I, along with the Assembly Minority Conference, have fought for several ethics reforms to deal with abuses of power and increase openness and transparency in government. Measures used by the governor and Assembly Majority allow the passage of unlawful laws like the SAFE Act and backroom deals that besmirch our Legislature.
Our conference supports the removal of corrupt politicians’ pension and retirement benefits, a measure promised in this year’s budget but removed due to the influence of labor unions on Downstate politicians. Furthermore, over the past few months we have pushed the Public Officers Accountability Act, A.4617, which strengthens campaign finance laws and places term limits on legislative leaders to prevent the alleged abuses committed by former leaders Silver and Skelos. Until we enact both of these measures, Albany will remain a cesspool of corruption and malfeasance.
Despite the large increase in education aid, millions for local development such as the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and tens of millions in aid for our farmers, much more needs to be done. Despite our rocky start, it is time to finish strong and help Upstate New York regain the economic strength it once enjoyed. We’re part of New York State, too!