More Crony Capitalism and a Blow to Small Business from Cuomo

Statement on Governor Cuomo's State of the State and Budget Address from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill)

WHAT CUOMO GETS WRONG

Minimum Wage

"Cuomo's minimum wage hike would be an unbearable burden for many small businesses. With the never-ending regulations and heavy taxes, small businesses already are under water in New York. They can't afford this latest mandate. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers flee the state every year. They do it because Albany has dragged down New York's economy. This will only push more people out of New York. Worse, it will hurt the minimum wage workers it is designed to help. Minimum wage hikes lead to fewer jobs. That's basic economics at work. Companies will do everything they can to get the same output from fewer workers. This will only hurt those on the lowest rung of the economy's ladder."

Downtown Revitalization Program

"Crony capitalism corrupts government and hurts the economy. This program would have Albany pick the economy's winners and losers. That hasn't been working well for New York, and it's led to jail for the former Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. When Albany picks winners and losers, Albany's friends win and the taxpayers lose. This sounds a lot like the Empire Zone Program, and we know that program was rife with abuse. Instead of crony capitalist subsidies, we should work on reducing property taxes caused by unfunded mandates, reducing energy costs caused by Albany's meddling, and cutting back out-of-control regulations."

Infrastructure Spending

"Every construction project in New York, including today's proposals from Cuomo, costs much more than it should because of Albany's byzantine regulations. For instance, the Scaffold Law has added hundreds of millions to the cost of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. The archaic law imposes 'absolute liability' on builders and property owners for any elevation-related injuries. If a worker was drunk on the job and falls, injuring himself, the builder bears full responsibility. This drives up the cost of insurance in New York, making everything in the state more expensive. Every infrastructure and construction project in New York costs 10% more than it should. With this law left in place, Cuomo's infrastructure spending is guaranteed to include billions in waste. Before any massive new infrastructure spending is planned, we need to address the reasons it costs so much to build something in New York."

Taste of New York

"New York doesn't need to open retail shops to compete with private businesses. This is crony capitalism with a 'craft' label slapped onto it. We can promote New York products without using government-run and -subsidized stores. Is there any evidence that these stores even drive consumers to buy the products again, somewhere other than in the government-run store?"

Taxpayer-Funded Political Campaigns

"Taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for politicians' campaigns and ambitions. Taxpayer-funded campaigns haven't ended corruption in New York City politics, in fact, it may have added to it. Real ethics reform would include term limits, more transparency in the legislative process and ending crony capitalism. Handing tax dollars to politicians to spend on their campaigns is not ethics reform."

The State of the State is Strong

"People are fleeing New York by the hundreds of thousands. New York is deeply troubled, and Albany is largely to blame. Governor Cuomo is ignoring the reality that hundreds of thousands are voting with their feet and moving to states with small government, lower taxes and fewer regulations."

WHAT CUOMO COULD GET RIGHT

Small Business Tax Cuts

"This is a good step. There's much more to do, though. Property taxes are still too high, due primarily to unfunded mandates. But Albany has dropped the ball on unfunded mandate reform. Businesses face absurd energy costs in New York because Albany had meddled with the market and mandated the use of expensive, inefficient energy sources. All of this needs to be addressed as well. Unfortunately, this probably won't make up for the damage done by the minimum wage hike Cuomo is promoting."

Property Taxes and Mandate Relief

"Governor Cuomo has at least acknowledged the massive problem we face with property taxes and unfunded mandates. The question is whether he is willing to take the necessary steps to roll back the spending Albany has imposed on local governments."

Criminal Justice Reform

"Improving the rehabilitation of criminals through education is a worthy cause, but shouldn't be funded by public funds. There already are not-for-profits focused on this, and Governor Cuomo should lend his name and office to help them raise the funds, privately, to expand. We also need to be sure that the governor's jobs program for released prisoners places them in the private sector and not with government jobs."

Local Government Consolidation Grants

"This is a good goal, but we need more information to see if the grants actually work. I'd like to see a detailed cost benefit analysis of past programs from the governor's office. Otherwise, we might end up just throwing money at a problem without the hope of a solution."