Reversing a disturbing trend, in the last few years, those of us in state government have taken great strides to make New York a better place to live, work and do business. By working together on targeted, regional economic development plans, we’re making it easier for businesses to grow and develop right here on the East End.
Recently, the United States Chamber of Commerce released a report that ranks New York in the top 10 states for economic performance – an 11 spot boost since last year. And it’s no wonder, as New Yorkers are now paying the lowest middle-class income tax rate in 58 years, a 2 percent cap on property taxes has been implemented and we’ve made investments in several key job-creation programs. These new initiatives have helped transform our approach to economic development, getting more families back to work and removing obstacles that once stalled growth.
Additionally, we fulfilled our promise made in December to permanently eliminate the MTA payroll tax for qualifying small businesses with annual payrolls of $1.25 million or less and for those who are self-employed and earn less than $50,000 per year. We also made sure that schools, both public and private, are exempt from having to pay the tax and that many small businesses receive a considerable decrease in the tax, including those companies with payrolls up to $1.75 million. Relieving this tax on small businesses and eliminating it completely for our schools helps create a more business-friendly environment in our communities and lets us focus on providing our children with the best education possible.
Part of New York’s past failures on the economic development front came from a misguided “one size fits all” approach. It failed to take into account that each region of the state has its own economic strengths and weaknesses. Under the Regional Economic Development Councils – which I helped create last year – local leaders are crafting better job-creating and business-assistance programs that best fit the needs of each area.
During this year’s legislative session, we directed robust funding to capital projects and other job-creating initiatives. Most notably, state dollars were targeted to help rebuild our state’s crumbling infrastructure through the New York Works program, creating thousands of jobs.
The key to the growth of innovation and high-tech manufacturing is highly-trained and skilled workers – and that means investing in education. New York’s community colleges are the gateway to a quality education for many young adults. Recognizing that, the Assembly increased community college base aid for the first time in five years.
For those young people in need of work, the Assembly provided funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program that enables youths to acquire skills, develop good work habits, earn an income and work toward meeting their occupational goals. Additionally, tax credits have been made available for businesses that hire and train at-risk or disadvantaged young people.
And in an effort to provide more good-paying jobs to East End families, in this year’s budget we earmarked nearly $800 million to multiple Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) projects to promote growth for local businesses.
By investing in programs that help companies and small businesses cut through red tape, gain access to capital and create more jobs, we have reclaimed the competitive edge our state was once known for. And with New York regaining its reputation as a business-friendly state, we’re headed in the right direction. The message is clear: New York is open for business!