Kolb Hosts Minority Task Force On Manufacturing Here In Finger Lakes

July 18, 2007

Clothing, food, printing, flat-screen televisions, cameras, cars, computers, IPODs, household furnishings, DVDs, eye ware, copiers, fax machines, cellular phones – sound familiar? All of these products are manufacturing-produced items we use everyday. Manufacturing plays a significant role in our lives and in our economy. It is vital that we do everything we can to ensure manufacturing remains as one of our top priorities for New York State’s economic development efforts.

That’s why as the NYS Assembly Minority Conference Manufacturing Task Force Chair, and former businessman and entrepreneur, I was proud to host a meeting of the task force here in the Finger Lakes Region. The goal of this discussion was to help find ways in which our state government can support manufacturers and promote job retention and job growth.

The roundtable forum was held at Flower City Printing located in Rochester and many regional businesses were represented. These include High Tech Rochester, Unifuse Plastics, Pierce Industries, Infotonics, Alstum Signaling, Brinkman International Group, Rochester Business Alliance, Rochester Tooling and Machining Association, and Kodak. I was joined by my colleagues in the Assembly: Bob Oaks, Steve Hawley, Joe Errigo, and Bill Reilich.

This Assembly Minority Manufacturing Task Force was founded in 2004 and has traveled across our state, touring our manufacturing corridors and meeting with workers and business owners to learn the specific challenges facing the industry. We have already learned that businesses are challenged with skyrocketing taxes, red tape, need for additional workforce development and training, and sustainable affordable energy.

Throughout this year’s legislative session, I have advocated for manufacturers and called for tax relief for businesses so that they are not continually driven out of our state and our residents are not forced to leave their homes and families. A good first step was taken to help New Yorker and our manufacturers in this year’s budget. The budget provides $150 million in targeted business tax relief, including overhauling income taxes on manufacturers (from 7.5 percent to 6.5 percent) and lowering the minimum tax from 2.5 percent to 1.5 percent. We also fought hard to reduce the Corporation Tax – it has been reduced from 7.5 percent to 7.1 percent.

Another positive step was taken to protect our manufacturing workforce. Workers Compensation Reform became a reality this year that will result in a 20% cost savings to most employers, and extended protections for the workforce.

I have worked to urge my colleagues in Albany to address the high cost of energy as a top priority this year. Specifically, I have called for the renewal of the Power for Jobs program and passage of a meaningful Article X power plant siting law. I am also working and calling for a comprehensive strategy to lower energy costs for businesses and consumers alike.

The roundtable discussion was a great success and we have learned a lot from the manufacturers right here in our area. There are significant opportunities for job creation in manufacturing throughout New York State. We need to get the word out that manufacturing is alive and well in NYS, and we have to do more to ensure its long-term success. I’d like to thank all the businesses and my Assembly minority colleagues for attending and I welcome the public to send me your thoughts and suggestions on how we can improve the economic climate here in New York. We must work together, and we must work fast in order to ensure that New York State’s manufacturing industry remains competitive in the global economy.

To send me your comments please contact me at my district office at 607 West Washington Street, Suite 2, Geneva, New York 14456 or send me an e-mail to kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us.