Several of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s state advocacy priorities are now on hold after the Governor and State Legislature failed to reach a final budget agreement. To keep state government running, the Legislature did pass a stop-gap measure through the end of May. This budget extender does includes key issues important to the Partnership and economic development efforts in Buffalo Niagara. They are:
- Phase two of the Buffalo Billion
- $2.5B in water and sewer infrastructure spending
- Capital funding for transportation infrastructure projects
The lack of a budget agreement means Upstate will have to keep waiting for access to ridesharing while the rest of the country participates in the sharing economy. The Governor and Legislature did strike a deal to bring ridesharing to all of New York, but it was scuttled when other items sidelined negotiations.
The Partnership – along with employer, non-profit and municipal organizations throughout New York – advocated aggressively for the budget to contain commonsense Workers’ Compensation reform. That fight continues. New York now has the third highest Workers’ Compensation premium costs in the country. Employers cannot continue to unfairly carry this burden at the expense of job creation and economic investment. I want to thank several Upstate Majority Senators, including our Western New York members, for pushing hard on this issue. If New York truly wants to be ‘open for business,’ our state leaders must get serious about addressing the root causes of why this state remains one of the most expensive places anywhere in the country to be an employer.
The Partnership will keep you updated as the Governor and State Legislature resume budget negotiations.