The Partnership had several wins as part of the state budget process.
The New York State Budget is mostly on time this year (officially missing the midnight deadline by just a few hours).
There is a lot for Buffalo Niagara Partnership members to like about this budget – for items left out as much as what’s actually a part of the $150B spending plan.
The Partnership achieved its number one advocacy priority for 2015 with a 10-year extension of the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP).
There is no doubt that a long-term extension of the BCP as part of the State Budget is critical for our community and central to redevelopment efforts in and around Buffalo.
We want to thank Governor Cuomo and the Western New York delegation for working with us to make this happen.
The budget includes dedicated infrastructure funding that should address mounting repair and maintenance needs of both state and local roads/bridges in Western New York.
New York is investing $750M to tend to its own infrastructure and is boosting funding to the program that sends state funds to municipal governments to address local concerns.
Also good news – the budget does not include another hike in the minimum wage or Paid Family Leave, two items discussed at length during budget negotiations.
But our relief may be short lived as both of these proposals will likely be debated again before the end of the current legislative session. The Partnership will continue to advocate strongly against them.
Partnership-opposed changes in how Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) are governed are also out of the final budget.
These so-called reforms actually circumvent local decision making and centralize economic development decisions in Albany increasing project approval time-frames.
The final budget guarantees that New York has a Design-Build program for another two years and it does not include a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).
It is widely accepted that combining both elements of a project saves time and money by increasing accountability and limiting finger-pointing between different firms working on the same project. Including a PLA would have negated the cost savings benefits of Design-Build.
The Partnership is also pleased that member organizations Roswell Park, NFTA, and UB had their funding restored or received a modest increase to address urgent needs.
Unfortunately, much needed tax relief for all property owners and small businesses is nowhere to be found in this budget.
The Governor and State Legislature must work together to make the 2% Property Tax Cap permanent and then shift their focus to not only controlling taxes, but cutting them.
High taxation – at all levels- remains the number one issue facing the employer community in Western New York and all of New York State.
While the State Budget is behind us, our work is far from over. We will continue to aggressively advocate for what matters most to our members.