BNP Advocacy Insider – August 2021
August 4, 2021
NY HERO Act Requires Action Soon
Under the NY HERO Act, employers must adopt an Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan by August 5. Employers then have 30 days after adoption to distribute the plan to employees.
The BNP has many resources to help employers understand the HERO Act. In June, the BNP hosted an event to explain the basic requirements of the Act (video available here). In July, we hosted another event to help employers understand and implement the detailed safety standards (video available here).
The state’s standards and model safety templates are available on our site.
Senate Finalizes Bipartisan Infrastructure Details
On Sunday, senators released the bill text for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill spends $1.2 trillion, including $550 billion in new spending, on roads, bridges, rail, public transit, ports, airports, and broadband. Bipartisan passage in the Senate is expected this week, but the bill faces obstacles in the House. For more on Congress’ infrastructure negotiations, visit our blog.
The BNP has long advocated for a bipartisan infrastructure package and applauds this progress. To contact your Congressional representatives about the need to pass an infrastructure package, use our one-click tool here.
Biden Reverses Course, Extends Eviction Moratorium
President Biden and the CDC renewed the federal eviction moratorium, just days after Biden claimed he lacked legal authority to do so. The new moratorium is in effect through October 3 and only applies in counties with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission, which currently includes Erie and Niagara counties. For details on the extension, visit our blog.
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to utilize New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will help relieve arrears.
BNP Hosting Capital Conversation: How to Spend a Windfall
The American Rescue Plan will send over $24 billion to New York State and its local governments. This funding presents a unique opportunity for our region – if used correctly. On Tuesday, August 17, the Empire Center’s Peter Warren will join us to discuss how this money should be invested in our communities.
This event is free to BNP members. Register today!
BNP Pushing for Border Access
Canada recently announced it would allow vaccinated American travelers to cross its border for non-essential travel beginning August 9. Although the reopening comes with many stiff restrictions, it is a step in the right direction for an issue on which BNP has long advocated.
However, the Biden administration did not follow suit, announcing that it was extending the border closure through at least August 21.
The BNP wrote to President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas and asked them to offer Canadian travelers reciprocal border access by August 9.
JOBS Act Would Expand Educational Access, Develop Workforce
Currently, Pell Grants are only available for long-term career and technical education programs, meaning many students in short-term programs cannot access the grants. The Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act would make short-term CTE programs eligible for Pell grants, allowing students to pursue a wider variety of credentials.
This legislation would help low-income workers access the training needed for well-paying jobs, and also help address workforce shortages in our region. The BNP expressed to our Congressional delegation our support of the JOBS Act.
Today, Canadian officials announced they would be reinstating a requirement that all entrants present proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The requirement will take effect Tuesday, according to the Buffalo News.
Today, the Tax Foundation (an independent tax policy think tank) released its 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index. The report compares all fifty states on various tax policies, then ranks their overall business tax climate. New York ranked below every state except New Jersey.
NY’s rank in the State Business Tax Climate Index
The poor ranking comes as no surprise. New York has oscillated between 48-50 for over ten years. After enacting new tax increases this year, New York dropped from 48th to 49th.
Yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she would repeal the state’s mask mandate, effective today. However, her announcement did not proactively address how the repeal coincided with the NY HERO Act, which would have required employees in most workplaces to continue masking.
The BNP recently wrote to Governor Kathy Hochul suggesting steps she can take to maximize the incoming infrastructure investment from Washington.
President Biden recently signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The BNP advocated for this bill, which has the potential for transformative change in Buffalo Niagara. However, in our current landscape, this historic investment may not go as far in New York as it will in other states.