Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny: New York Businesses and Workforce Strengthened under Assembly Budget

March 13, 2007
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights) said the Assembly’s budget proposal places a major emphasis on improving New York’s business climate and strengthening our regional economies.

“Providing economic development initiatives is at the core of revitalizing our state’s businesses and workforce,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “The Assembly understands we need a comprehensive approach to economic development. New York has many strengths that can be utilized to jumpstart our stagnant economy and lead us along a path of stability and prosperity.”

Whether it’s promoting local “mom and pop” businesses or investing in the burgeoning high-tech industry, Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said New York State needs to invest in all sectors to create good, high-paying jobs for working families.

Already this year, the Assembly passed historic reforms to New York’s workers’ compensation system – a move that increases future benefits for injured workers while reducing the cost for employers.

Investing in New York’s future

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said the Assembly’s budget provides a wide range of resources for economic revitalization, focusing on key initiatives including tourism, high-tech programs, affordable housing, as well as support for research and development, including stem cell research.

Specifically, the Assembly’s economic development budget provides:

  • More than $3.4 million in additional funding for the Urban and Community Development Program in Economically Distressed Areas, and
  • $1.3 million more for the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, which helps entrepreneurs – including women, minorities and dislocated workers – create businesses.

The budget also allocates $16 million – an almost 50 percent increase – for the “I Love New York” program to draw more visitors from around the globe, a measure the Assembly has consistently called for. In addition, the plan includes nearly $5.3 million for tourism matching grants – an increase of $500,000 from last year.

The Assembly has long called for greater accountability in the state’s economic development programs. Given the lack of progress under Governor Pataki’s failed economic policies, Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said we need rigorous standards to ensure that New York taxpayers secure the highest possible return on their investment.

Community development

The budget also allocates $150 million in continuing capital support for the Restore NY Communities Initiative, which the Assembly created last year. The Assembly has long pushed for a sweeping initiative to clean-up and revitalize blighted, aging neighborhoods, and restore hope in New York’s distressed communities. There are roughly 387,000 vacant dwellings in New York, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Along with countless buildings in various states of disrepair, they drive down property values, erode the tax base, hinder commercial development and provide cover for criminal activity in the neighborhoods where they are located,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny explained. “By looking beyond the boarded-up windows and burned-out buildings in these neighborhoods – we can see the real potential of the communities, and of our entire state.”

Reforming workers’ compensation

The Assembly budget builds on reform of the workers’ compensation system, an important step toward making New York’s economy stronger and more competitive (A.6163).

“Fixing New York’s broken workers’ compensation system is a critical action necessary to revitalize our economy and attract new businesses. We have one of the most expensive systems in the nation. This measure will reduce the cost of doing business in New York – helping existing firms prosper and eliminating an obstacle that could deter new ones from setting up shop here,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said.

The agreement, which is supported by both business and labor groups, will reduce workers’ compensation premiums by 10 to 15 percent. For the first time in more than a decade, workers coming into the system will see benefits raised and businesses will be able to keep insurance costs down. Passing this reform helps everyone, including taxpayers, and strengthens New York’s economic competitiveness.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said the Assembly’s budget strengthens New York’s economic future.

“We’re hopeful to have a strong budget in place by the April 1 deadline that improves our stagnant economy and finally gets New York State on the road to economic stability and prosperity,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “I will fight to include these recommendations in our final budget proposal to help put New Yorkers and the state on firm footing. I urge the Senate to work with us to make that a reality.”