The goal of protecting the Great Lakes and spurring economic development in the communities that surround them took a big step forward with the new federal spending bill. The measure addresses several key advocacy priorities of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a founding member of the GLMCC and I recently traveled to Washington, DC with the group to push for action on many of these issues.
It’s a wrap on another year of state budget negotiations with the Governor and State Legislature reaching agreement before the April 1 deadline.
New York State is home to some of the highest construction costs in the country. The state’s prevailing wage and scaffold laws are two reasons why. That is why the Buffalo Niagara Partnership calls for Scaffold Law reform and opposition to the expansion of prevailing wage in our 2018 Advocacy Agenda.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) are joining forces in a renewed push for a new U.S. Peace Bridge plaza. In a recently released letter, the two congressmen are calling on the federal government’s General Services Administration to put the planning and development of a new U.S. plaza on the “front burner.”
Buffalo Niagara Partnership members sat down with Canadian government leaders to discuss the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Deputy Consul General Khawar Nasim met with members of the Partnership’s Manufacturers Council as America, Canada and Mexico recently held a seventh round of renegotiation talks in Mexico City. Nasim outlined what Canada is looking for in a new NAFTA agreement and the value of the economic relationship between the three countries.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership detailed our state budget priorities in front of 200 people at our annual Legislative Luncheon. Our members and many members of the Western New York legislative delegation came together for lunch and conversation at the Marriott in Amherst. The Partnership detailed where we stand on Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal – specifically what we support, what we oppose and what we think is missing.
Higher education remains one of New York State’s most significant economic sectors. A strong percentage of that activity happens right here in Buffalo Niagara as our region is home to a robust offering of first-class public and independent colleges and universities. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership outlined our support for fully funding the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) in our 2018 Advocacy Agenda as one way to best position our economy to benefit from the impact of local higher education.
Buffalo Niagara employers operate in one of the most highly taxed and overly regulated economic environments anywhere in the country. The Tax Foundation once again ranked New York State has having the second worst business tax climate in the country. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership outlined our priorities for tax relief in our recently released 2018 Advocacy Agenda.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal looks to close the state’s $4.4 billion deficit with a series of revenue actions – government speak for new taxes and fees. The majority of these new taxes fall on the healthcare industry, continuing New York State’s long history of taxing healthcare to pay for healthcare. This reliance on healthcare taxes is one of the main reasons New Yorkers pay some of the highest healthcare premiums in the country and why Buffalo Niagara employers identify healthcare costs as a growing pain point.
Government policies should bind the United States and New York State closer to Canada, not create false barriers to trade, job creation and economic opportunity.