New York’s Small Businesses Are Essential To The Empire State’s Economic Recovery

Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
August 13, 2010

Last Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) honored me with their 2010 “Guardian of Small Business” award. This is the most prestigious honor that the NFIB gives legislators in recognition of their efforts to support small businesses and champion the issues important to them. The NFIB is New York’s leading small-business association representing over 11,000 small and independent businesses across the state. Whether it is calling for the Assembly to return to Albany and pass a real property tax cap, advocating for a state spending cap, or supporting efforts to cut job-killing bureaucratic red tape – all of which are policies that I strongly support – the NFIB has been, and continues to be, the trusted voice of small business.


Having entered public service from the private sector where I started and ran successful manufacturing companies, I have seen firsthand the vital role that small businesses play in New York’s economy. Without question, a thriving “Main Street” comprised of a variety of small businesses and manufacturers is critical to the future of communities both small and large. Small businesses provide good-paying jobs for hardworking families and are the cornerstones of their local communities.

The health of New York’s economy is directly linked to small businesses’ ability to create and retain jobs. Nearly 98 percent of all businesses in the Empire State are small ones – roughly 1.7 million in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than half of all working New Yorkers earn a paycheck from a small-business owner. Clearly, small business has a big impact on our economy, which is why we need to support policies that support them.


According to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) “Rich States, Poor States,” economic competitiveness index, New York ranks dead last in terms of economic outlook. This economic outlook ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in over a dozen areas including taxes, workers’ compensation costs, liability laws and debt. New York’s ranking of 50th shows the tough shape of our economy that has torn apart New York families. Too many grandparents have experienced the heartbreak of their adult children, and grandchildren, moving out of state because there are simply not enough quality jobs.

Additionally, ALEC gave New York its worst ranking in the category of “absolute domestic migration,” which essentially measures how many residents have left our state. ALEC’s analysis found that over 1.7 million New Yorkers have left the Empire State in the last decade. This is not news for small-business owners and non-partisan advocacy groups including NFIB, the Business Council of New York State and Unshackle Upstate who have warned that increasing taxes, costs and government regulations on business owners will not create more jobs. In fact, doing so will actually drive away more jobs and more New Yorkers. We need to stop this loss of jobs and help keep New York’s best and brightest right here.


The Assembly Minority has introduced common sense legislative solutions that would give New York’s small businesses the tools and support they need to keep good jobs in our local communities. The following proposals put forth by our Assembly Minority Conference – the “Small Business Improvement Act” (Assembly Bill A.4694) and the “Small Business Relief Act” (Assembly Bill A.6547) – were specifically designed to reduce the tax burden on small businesses, help lower their energy costs, eliminate harmful regulations and provide targeted incentives for job creation and retention in the private sector. Here is some of what these measures would do if enacted:


  • Require that at least 15 percent of state contracts be with businesses employing 100 or fewer employees and reduce payment time to small businesses on state contracts from 60 to 30 days, reflecting the standard used by the federal government;
  • Create a “one stop shop” service to handle questions from existing or new businesses in the state and direct those questions to the appropriate agencies; and
  • Provide funding for programs that upgrade and renovate downtowns and main streets.

  • Commercialize Centers of Excellence and Genesis Centers of Research to allow companies that have conducted Research and Development in the state to continue to receive tax benefits when they move into actual manufacturing;
  • Eliminate certain taxes on small businesses and lower the tax rate for small businesses; and
  • Increase the sales tax vendor credit from five to 10 percent and raise the maximum credit to $1,000 per year to reimburse compliance costs.


We must pass these legislative initiatives to help small businesses so they can, in turn, provide quality jobs. Along with these bills, New York also needs a comprehensive statewide economic development plan – not a “mission statement,” but an actual plan – that will reduce taxes and cut job-killing regulations on small businesses. As a Guardian of Small Business, I will continue leading the fight for just such an agenda.

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 You also can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.