Ranzenhofer: Rare July session is an opportunity to help families and small businesses
From Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer:
It goes without saying that 2020 has been one of the most unpredictable and challenging years of our lifetime. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years to come.
As the Legislature prepares to return for a rare July session, many important questions remain unanswered.
In a recent Buffalo News article, it was stated that legislative leaders anticipated a “robust agenda” for the upcoming July session. It is my hope that we will not squander the opportunity and will start providing much needed clarity and assistance to families and businesses.
For years, I have advocated for increasing assistance to working families through an expansion of the Child Care Credit. This assistance is even more critical now as many families are struggling to find adequate childcare, while continuing to work from home.
In addition, it is critical that we develop plans to ensure that children and teachers can return to school safely and as soon as possible.
While I acknowledge that the current fiscal crisis could not have been predicted, it is still troubling that we have yet to be presented with the Governor’s suggested budget revisions.
Furthermore, it is impossible to ignore the fact that prior to COVID-19 the state was already experiencing an over $6 billion deficit. As part of my 2020 Legislative Questionnaire, over 51 percent of respondents said the state should address deficits by reducing spending and cutting outdated regulations.
Conversely, only 28 percent of residents advocated for tax increases or cost shifts.
Right-sizing New York State government is more critical than ever to ensure the quickest, most sustainable, economic recovery possible.
I strongly believe we need to examine how we utilize our economic development dollars. With so many small businesses struggling to survive we need to do all we can to assist them.
The Governor controls billions of dollars for economic development incentives to attract new businesses to the state. I can think of no better time redistribute these resources to support locally owned businesses.
In my previously mentioned questionnaire, nearly 53 percent of respondents said the state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. Instead, they supported broad-based tax relief for businesses or not incentivizing private corporations at all. Only 13 percent of respondents believed that incentives were extremely important to help businesses.
Great challenges face government leaders as Legislative Session resumes. I hope the Governor and Senate and Assembly leaders will take real steps to assist hardworking families and struggling small businesses.
State Senator – 61st District