Little Change In Unemployment, Number Still Troubling, New York Must Refocus On Job, Business-Friendly Policies

Legislative Column from Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I-Newport)
June 3, 2011

While the U.S. Department of Labor’s report on unemployment had subtle changes, the fact remains that the economy has slowed down. Confidence of businesses in hiring and expanding jobs has waned. To date, this year, this quarter has shown the slowest growth in payroll with May among the worst. May payrolls only increased by 54,000 jobs, lower than April’s increase of 78,000 jobs. Unemployment rose by one-tenth of a percent, looming at 9.1 percent, and the number of those who face long-term unemployment, 27 weeks or more, grew by 45.1 percent. If Moody’s downgrades the nation’s credit rating, as they threatened to this week, investors could be prompted to divest from the American economy to more stable economies, such as Germany. If this happens, things will only get worse for the American and New York worker.

There are only eight working days remaining on the State Legislature’s scheduled calendar until they adjourn for the year, and many important issues remain unfinished. We have many priorities, but our first and foremost priority must be supporting job growth with business-friendly policies to help combat the aforementioned scenario. We must have relief from unfunded mandates for our schools and local governments before we can realistically consider a property tax cap, which the governor has identified as a priority for this legislative session. Of all taxes paid by New York businesses, property taxes account for 39 percent of the cost. In 2009, businesses paid a nearly $22 billion property tax bill.

Albany politicians say that they love small business and entrepreneurs, but they have a funny way of showing it. New York’s job creators are paying sales taxes ($11.6 billion), corporate income taxes, also known as the “job killing tax” ($10.5 billion), business income taxes ($4.8 billion), excise and gross receipts ($4.2 billion), unemployment taxes ($2.4 billion), and licenses, fees and other items ($1.6 billion). New York businesses are paying a total of $57 billion in taxes. What’s left for businesses to invest when creating jobs?

According to most job and economic reports, New York is ranked as the most unfriendly state to jobs and businesses. The American Legislative Exchange Council’s report “Rich States, Poor States,” authored by prominent economist Dr. Arthur Laffer, uses New York as an example of what not to do and has ranked us dead last in economic outlook.

While New York has nearly 800,000 unemployed men and women, Albany has allowed our tax policy to drive businesses out of the state. This year, I voted to pass economic development initiatives in the budget, and it’s time that we begin to see those initiatives being implemented. Now, we have to work on our tax policy on businesses and lessen the burden so that they can create jobs and hire hardworking New Yorkers.

As always, if you have questions or comments about our local economy or any other state issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me at either my Johnstown office at (518) 762-6486, my Herkimer office at (315) 866-1632, or by emailing me at