Fighting To Keep Thousands Of New York Jobs
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
August 26, 2011
With almost 800,000 New Yorkers still unemployed due to the recession, it is more important than ever that we fight to keep every private sector job possible right here in our state. I believe that more private sector jobs for more New Yorkers must be the overriding public policy focus in Albany – frankly, no other issue even comes close. In short, we need a unified, comprehensive effort on growing the private sector and removing obstacles to job creation all across our Empire State. WORKING TO KEEP JOBS HERE IN THE EMPIRE STATE To make this effort a reality, I recently partnered with Tom King, President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the state’s largest, and the nation’s oldest, firearms advocacy organization. Together, President King and I called on Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils to make the retention of firearm companies based and operating in New York State – and the thousands of good-paying private sector jobs they provide – a top economic development priority. These job creators include companies located in or nearby our Finger Lakes community and extend all the way downstate: Just Right Carbines, located here in Canandaigua; Crosman Arms and Turnbull Restoration, both located in Bloomfield; Remington Arms, located in Ilion; Dan Wesson Firearms, located in Norwich; and Kahr Arms and Kimber Manufacturing, both of which are located in Yonkers. We called on the Councils to work closely with these companies to bring New York’s labor, energy and transportation costs in line with those of other states. In addition, we urged the immediate rejection of more government mandates such as micro-stamping, which can significantly drive up the cost of firearms, hurt the economic competitiveness of New York’s gun industry and potentially lead to firearm manufacturers leaving the state altogether for other vicinities that would gladly welcome these job creators. OTHER STATES ARE TRYING TO LURE AWAY NEW YORK’S JOB CREATORS Thousands of New Yorkers – by some estimates as many as 10,000 – are employed either directly or indirectly by the firearms industry. More than ever, we must fight to keep these jobs as states such as Idaho, Alabama, and Montana are aggressively trying to lure away New York’s firearm industries and the good-paying jobs they provide. Without question, losing these thousands of private sector jobs would be a devastating hit to our already fragile economy. As the only Legislative Leader in state government that has actually started and run successful private sector manufacturing businesses, I know how much work is required to launch a company, meet a payroll and provide a quality product or service to the community. A great deal of time, effort and energy has already gone into ensuring these firearms companies are successful and it would be a major loss if they left New York. REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCILS NEED TO WORK WITH, AND LISTEN TO, PRIVATE SECTOR JOB CREATORS Having the Regional Economic Development Councils listen to the needs of the firearms industry in New York would mark a smart start to a much-needed partnership between the public and private sectors. Next, the state Legislature can do its part and stop considering costly government mandates such as micro-stamping that do little to keep New Yorkers safe, yet drive up the cost of owning a firearm and create a climate where companies that produce them no longer feel welcome. My and President King’s call to preserve thousands of private sector jobs in New York State received tremendous media coverage – numerous local, statewide, national and even international publications ran stories on our push. While media coverage is nice, it far more important that my fellow policymakers in Albany recognize the reality that New York is in direct, daily competition with the 49 other states, not to mention foreign countries such as India and China. They all want to attract employers operating in New York’s borders – from the largest Fortune 500 company to an entrepreneurial start-up launched in someone’s basement – and the jobs they provide. EVERY JOB IN NEW YORK STATE MATTERS! In this tough economy, every single private sector job matters. We should do whatever it takes to make New York more economically competitive by putting the brakes on all the excessive taxation, regulation and litigation that makes it so expensive to operate a business in New York State. In the process, we will be helping keep quality employers like Remington Arms, Crosman Arms, Just Right Carbines, Kahr Arms, Kimber Manufacturing, Turnbull Restoration and Dan Wesson Firearms part of the Empire State. Retaining and creating more private sector jobs requires a laser-like focus from policymakers in state government and a commitment to making New York a much more business-friendly and cost effective place to start or expand a business. These changes can happen and will happen if New Yorkers demand it! 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.