Governor Cuomo – Rescind The Unemployment Insurance Assessment Surcharge On Small Businesses!
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
July 29, 2011
THE GOOD NEWS: With the enactment of a Real Property Tax Cap this year and the recent launch of Regional Economic Development Councils, our State is once again in a position to craft a true economic development plan that creates jobs and puts hundreds of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers back to work. THE BAD NEWS: For far too long, New York businesses have been over-regulated and over-taxed. Now business owners across the State are being nickel-and-dimed by yet another costly assessment. THE UNEMPLOYMENT INTEREST ASSESSMENT SURCHARGE – MAKING OUR JOB CREATORS FOOT THE BILL I watched with interest this week as business and community leaders from around the State gathered in regional meetings with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to kick off the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils. They sent a great message. Working as a team to promote economic development at a regional level is certainly a step forward, but I fear that an action by the Department of Labor is going to push our economic development plans two steps back. School districts and municipalities know all too well the budget-busting effects of ‘unfunded mandates.’ Albany politicians just love to let the little guys pick up the tab for their well-intentioned statewide pet programs. Now the New York State Department of Labor is getting into the ‘unfunded mandate’ game by passing the buck onto New York’s small businesses. Their Unemployment Insurance (UI) Interest Assessment Surcharge would force businesses to cover the cost of a $95 million interest payment on Federal loans to the State’s UI Trust Fund. As a former entrepreneur and manufacturing executive, I know firsthand how New York businesses are over-regulated and over-taxed. The impact of this unfriendly business climate has contributed to numerous job losses in various sectors – with the manufacturing industry alone facing a nearly 40 percent decrease over the past decade. To alert Governor Cuomo to this situation, I sent him a letter asking him to rescind the UI Interest Assessment Surcharge imposed on all businesses and refund any businesses that have paid this assessment to date. A UI Interest Assessment Surcharge will be another job-killing burden placed on the backs of businesses. It is a slap in the face to recent efforts to open New York for business. Let’s get the Department of Labor back on the right page. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO WAIT FOR CONGRESS TO TAKE ACTION – NEW YORK MUST TAKE THE LEAD TO MAKE OUR SMALL BUSINESSES THRIVE For the past few years, the United States Congress has enacted legislation to make Federal loans to the State UI trust funds interest-free. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for Congressional action to continue this policy. Simply put, if Congress fails to act, Albany must step up and solve this problem. New York State should use a portion of the nearly $800 million in surplus first quarter tax receipts from the current fiscal year to cover the $95 million interest payment of the Federal loans, instead of using this as yet another excuse to dip into the pockets of New York businesses. LENDING ESTABLISHED SMALL BUSINESSES A HAND WILL BOOST OUR FUTURE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANS I think every business owner in the State will agree when I say that an effective economic development strategy concentrated on rewarding, not penalizing, entrepreneurs for creating jobs in New York is sorely needed. For far too long, State Agencies, especially the Department of Labor, have lost sight of who their customer is – the private sector job creator. Instead of showing – and not just telling – small businesses that ‘We Want You Here,’ New York’s State Agencies have a history of over-taxing and over-regulating businesses – as if they were the enemy and not the customer. LET’S HELP OUR SMALL BUSINESSES PUT FOLKS BACK TO WORK The goal of the recently launched Regional Economic Development Councils is to redesign the relationship between State government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide. Rescinding the UI Assessment Interest Surcharge is certainly a good first step toward changing the Empire State’s negative image and spreading the word that New York is once again ‘Open For Business.’ 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.