BNP Advocacy Insider – December 2021
December 6, 2021
BNP Urges Brownfield Program Renewal
The state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, which has been essential in cleaning & redeveloping our community, is set to expire in 2022. The BNP wrote to Governor Hochul urging her to include renewal in her upcoming Executive Budget. Partner organization Upstate United also wrote a similar letter including business groups from across the state. Read our letter here.
Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill; BNP Suggests Next Steps
President Biden recently signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The BNP supported this legislation and thanks Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Reed, and Rep. Higgins for their support. Learn more about the bill and our efforts here.
However, the bill’s enactment is not the end of the story. Now, the BNP is focused on ensuring this investment is efficiently distributed to meet the needs in our community.
Shortly after the President signed this legislation, the BNP wrote to Governor Hochul suggesting changes she can make to maximize this historic investment. The cost of infrastructure and public construction in New York is extremely high, largely due to state mandates. By relaxing these mandates, New York can stretch this investment as far as possible. Learn more and read the BNP’s letter here.
Erie County Imposes Mask Mandate
County Executive Mark Poloncarz ordered the wearing of face coverings in all public places in Erie County. The move is in response to rising COVID cases in the county, and Poloncarz indicated more restrictions may come if case numbers do not decline. Learn more here.
At this time, no other counties in the region have announced mask mandates, but the BNP will keep you informed should this change.
BNP, Business Groups Continue to Urge Action on Unemployment Insurance
Since Gov. Hochul’s first day in office, the BNP has urged her to stabilize the state’s unemployment insurance system and prevent steep UI rate increases on employers. However, to date, the Governor has not acted on this issue.
The BNP recently partnered with 27 other business groups around the state to urge the Governor to act on this issue. The letter is available here.
To join the fight, use our one-click advocacy tool here.
What Employers Need to Know About Vax-or-Test Mandate
The BNP recently hosted an HR expert to explain the details of OSHA’s “Vax or Test” emergency temporary standard. The event can be viewed here.
The BNP also has a written guide to FAQs on this rule, available here.
OSHA has paused enforcement of this rule due to ongoing litigation. However, employers would be wise to continue to prepare for this rule to take effect should the courts reinstate it.
NYS to Create Small Business Liaisons
Gov. Hochul recently signed legislation designating a “small business liaison” in five state agencies: Agriculture & Markets, Environmental Conversation, Labor, Taxation & Finance, and Transportation. The liaisons are intended to be a direct point of contact for small businesses to help them navigate state bureaucracy. The BNP supported this legislation and will share contact information for the liaisons once available.
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.