Things are in full swing in Albany. Last week, the Governor submitted his budget to the State Legislature. Not surprisingly, this budget proposes substantial cuts to government programs. It proposes to decrease spending by $3.7 billion, for a $132.9 billion total budget. Though these cuts will be difficult to make, we cannot sustain the level of spending we’re at and I’m pleased that the Governor has given the Legislature a good starting point to work from going forward in the budget negotiation process. Perhaps the best news this budget brought was it did not include new tax proposals.
Creating more responsible budgets—ones that spend within our means—is important to everyone in this state. By controlling spending, we can become more attractive to businesses, which will create more jobs. Our state has many great attributes that are worth touting—from tourism, to great schools, to infrastructure, to parks. Bringing more businesses into our state and enabling businesses to grow would go a long way toward preserving and restoring our Empire State. These businesses will be the backbone to our restored economy but we must first incentivize growth through better policy.
To this end, I, along with a number of my Upstate colleagues, have proposed the Job Creation and Economic Development plan. Here are some of the highlights of the plan:
- Replace Excelsior Jobs program with a new Cornerstone and Discovery Program. This would cut business taxes; promote job retention through tax credits for businesses that have been in the state for 10 or more years; incentivize job creation in specific fields such as manufacturing, high-tech and agri-business.
- Promote green job development and recruitment program by establishing a strategy to attract green jobs to this state; convert existing companies into green job providers; establish green job curricula at BOCES and community colleges. Also, establish tax credits for businesses that operate with at least 25 percent green energy.
- Provide personal income tax exemption on the first $250,000 earned after graduation for college graduates with four-year degrees and on the first $150,000 for two-year graduates.
- For small businesses, we should establish a College to Work program to provide a tax credit for companies that pay college tuition for an employee; provide a small-business energy tax reduction; establish business STAR Program to make property owned by a small business eligible for STAR benefits, reducing the property tax burden.
- Require that at least 15 percent of state contracts are with businesses employing 100 or fewer employees.
- Address growing health care costs for businesses through health savings accounts; authorize a tax credit for health insurance premiums paid by small businesses for employees; authorize a 100 percent deduction for medical and dental care.
- Establish high-tech training job program for community colleges to re-train displaced workers; create a partnership between community colleges and BOCES through a high-tech job training program.
These are only a few of the ways in which we can spur job creation. Putting people back to work creates more jobs for other industries as well, such as those in the tourism, restaurant and home builders industries, just to name a few. The good news is manufacturing jobs are up across the country in the latest jobs report published on Feb. 4. Our country added 49,000. Now that the State Senate passed a job creation bill last week which provides incentives to businesses, it’s up to the Assembly Majority to act in a way that’s friendly to business so we can compete more effectively in a national as well as global marketplace.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (315) 598-5185.