QUESTION: How can we create more private sector jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers?
As the only Legislative Leader in state government that has actually started (and operated) successful private sector companies in the highly competitive manufacturing field, I have been asked the question listed above with increasing regularity. Each time, my answer is the same: In order to grow jobs, we need to remove government barriers, listen to job creators, reduce New York's operating costs and let the private sector do what it does best: create and innovate.
In short, we will create more jobs by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that once made New York State America's unrivaled economic engine, the place where companies naturally looked to create good-paying jobs. The Empire State has done it before and we can do it again - IF we stand strong and demand real change from Albany.
WANTED: PEOPLE WITH PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERIENCE
One of the principal roadblocks to getting New York's economy moving again has been the distressing fact that too many people serving in state government have virtually zero knowledge of how the private sector actually works. Albany is awash in career bureaucrats that have never started a business, met a payroll or, in some cases, ever stepped foot in the private sector. They simply do not understand the struggles job creators face on a daily basis: taxation, regulation, litigation, rising operating costs, aggressive competitors, not to mention the constant demand to meet - and exceed - customer expectations.
These are just a few of the considerations that job creators must deal with, yet are foreign to certain liberal politicians in Albany who view the private sector as "the enemy." Ironically, these same bureaucrats want to dictate to job creators how they should run their business! To borrow a line from the classic Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is failure to communicate!" We need more - a lot more - two-way communication beginning with Albany listening to, and learning from, job creators.
LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SURCHARGE
I have been listening - in fact, listening to the needs of job creators has been one of my top priorities as Assembly Minority Leader. It's why I'm leading the fight to rescind a $95 million Unemployment Insurance Interest Assessment Surcharge from being imposed on businesses.
Since I first warned about the surcharge and urged Governor Cuomo to use a portion of the state's first quarter surplus to offset the assessment and spare businesses from the burden of paying $95 million, my office has literally been flooded with calls. Job creators want to know what they can do to stop the surcharge. The answer is simple: call, write and e-mail the Governor, demand that the surcharge be offset with surplus funds. It was good to see U.S. Senator Charles Schumer recently followed my lead and has announced his intention to introduce legislation in Washington, D.C. to eliminate this cost for all state governments. The more people we have fighting this fight, the better!
THE PRIVATE SECTOR, NOT GOVERNMENT, IS WHAT CREATES JOBS
The ongoing Unemployment Insurance surcharge fiasco is simply the latest example of how Albany just doesn't get it when it comes to the private sector. Folks, it's Economics 101: Government does not create jobs, opportunity or wealth; the private sector does. What government can do is foster an economic climate that supports job creation through common sense fiscal policies, and keeping taxes, regulations and government spending in check.
We need to shrink the size, cost and reach of government in order to grow private sector jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers. Every dollar gobbled up by Albany (and Washington, D.C.) through Unemployment Insurance surcharges, higher taxes, big spending schemes and more regulations, means one less dollar available to hire a new worker, expand a business, or invest in new equipment and the latest technology. We need those dollars to stop flowing to government and start flowing into our economy to encourage job creation.
U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: "ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY" IMPAIRS JOB CREATION
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce - the world's largest business federation representing the interests of over three million businesses, as well as state and local chambers - recently published a report that showed how devastating uncertainty is to free enterprise and job creation. The report, titled "Voices for Jobs," was the result of a nationwide "listening tour" launched by the Chamber this spring to hear from business owners and entrepreneurs across the country regarding what were the main challenges and factors influencing job creation.
One of the leading concerns continually cited was "economic uncertainty." Specifically, how uncertainty over new state and federal regulations could further damage the economy and hurt prospects for private sector job growth. If you own a business, are thinking about starting a business, or simply care about fixing our economy, the Chamber's report is a must-read and available on-line at their Web site.
With the number of our state's unemployed totaling nearly 760,000, New York can ill afford to sit back, wait and merely "hope" things get better. Hope is not a plan! We need Albany to get out of the way, put the brakes on new regulations, and give job creators the economic certainty (and confidence) they need to invest in New York's workforce and build a better future for our Empire State. In short, less regulations and more economic certainty answer this column's initial question of how we can create more private sector jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers.
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.