In state government, we recognize and pay tribute to a litany of commendable individuals, groups, causes and occasions. We vote on resolutions that designate specific weeks as a time to focus on an issue of great importance to New Yorkers. This week, one of my personal favorites has arrived. Since my pro-jobs record in the state Assembly has earned me the nickname “The Jobs Guy,” it should come as no surprise that I am thrilled to celebrate Small Business Week 2012.
Without a doubt, small-business owners are the backbone of our communities and the state economy. We’ve seen what skyrocketing taxes and big government stimulus packages deliver for New Yorkers – less money, more debt and staggering unemployment. In truth, if we’re going to restore our status as the Empire State and get New Yorkers back to work, we need look no further than to our own neighbors who are operating the mom-and-pop shops and businesses that can make the wheels of our economy turn.
According to the Department of Labor, there are 7.3 million New Yorkers currently employed. This is due to the innovative, entrepreneurial minds that are willing to fight tooth-and-nail to make their dream of owning and operating a successful small business become reality. This used to be an attainable goal for the average American and was looked upon as a most honorable way to earn a living for an individual and their family. These days, however, it takes the heart of a champion to persevere through the uphill battle that comes with life as a business owner in New York state.
Every year, the Tax Foundation releases a study titled the State Business Tax Climate Index. The project compares every state in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes and property taxes, including residential and commercial property.
In 2012, New York was ranked 49th by the Tax Foundation’s index. We have undoubtedly made strides over the last two years to improve the business climate in our state, but the numbers don’t lie. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done if we want our children and grandchildren to realize the dream so many of us held as youngsters of owning a business and being able to raise our families in the communities that we grew up in.
I take my commitment to our small-business owners and job creators seriously. In 2011, The Business Council of New York State ranked me the #1 pro-jobs legislator out of all 212 members of the state Legislature. I know that it takes more than seven days to free small-business owners from New York’s skyrocketing taxes and 49,000 pages of job-killing regulations. Even so, I hope we all can celebrate what our local entrepreneurs mean to our economy and our community during Small Business Week. Let’s make the extra effort to shop locally and give small-business owners the shot in the arm they so desperately need.