With the number of jobless citizens continuing to remain at, or near, record levels, much of the talk these days in our state (and nation's) capital is focused on creating more jobs and getting unemployed folks back to work. However well intentioned, talk alone will not get the job done when it comes to fixing our economy - what we need is less talk, more action, in the form of realistic public policies that address the underlying challenges faced by job creators here in New York State.
While it took far too long for many elected officials to recognize the severity of the current economic crisis, politicians in Albany and Washington, D.C. have finally woken up to what I have been saying since the summer of 2009: the Empire State needs more jobs, right now. With almost 800,000 New Yorkers on the unemployment line, we cannot afford to wait another day. I gladly welcome other elected officials to this fight!
ADVANCING A TRUE "JOBS AGENDA"
Regular readers of this weekly column are aware of my focus on fixing our economy and removing barriers - New York's job-killing excessive taxation, litigation, and regulation - so private sector job creators can hire more employees, expand their operations and have the confidence to invest in our future. My jobs agenda does not involve handing out, or redistributing, taxpayer dollars to certain companies. Policies where government uses public money to essentially pick "winners" and "losers" is a costly quick fix that fails to repair the structural imbalances present in our economy.
Instead, a true jobs agenda is based on fundamental fairness, lowering costs for all job creators, not just a favored few, and getting government bureaucracy out of the way. Here are some of the main points that are part of my plan for more jobs, right now:
SIMPLIFY & FLATTEN THE TAX CODE, ROLL BACK REGULATIONS, BUILD UPON NEW YORK'S REGIONAL ECONOMIC ASSETS
Reduce State Tax Rates for ALL Job Creators: New York's business taxes are among the highest in America. Reducing tax rates and eliminating special interest tax loopholes will simplify and "flatten" New York's tax code, resulting in lower tax rates for ALL businesses, which will make our state much more attractive for job creators;
Roll Back Regulations: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Governor Cuomo announced that State Agencies such as the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency would suspend certain rules and regulations for hurricane-affected communities seeking to rebuild. This is an excellent idea that should be extended to the financial devastation and job losses caused by the economic recession. Rolling back regulations and paperwork requirements will allow private sector job creators to move quickly in expanding their operations to get folks back to work; and
Build Upon New York's Regional Economic Assets: New York is home to some of the finest institutions of higher education in the nation. Our SUNY system and private colleges attract students not only nationally, but internationally as well. In addition to world-class universities, New York possesses tremendous regional assets - the beauty of our Finger Lakes, our award-winning wines and wineries, not to mention New York's agricultural industry and countless outdoor recreational activities. These are all are value-added regional assets that enhance our quality of life. We need to promote and build upon these assets when looking to attract new employers to the Empire State.
GIVING JOB CREATORS THE TOOLS THEY REALLY NEED
Having spent most of my adult life in the private sector, I know what so many Albany politicians fail to recognize: job creators are not looking for a government handout. What they want is for government to stop making it harder for them to run their business, turn a profit and grow jobs. Giving job creators a simpler, fairer, flatter tax code, rolling back regulations, and promoting our regional economic assets are the smart ways to create more jobs, right now.
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.