A newly introduced piece of federal border security legislation recognizes how our regional economy depends on the easy flow of people and goods between the United States and Canada.
The 2017 New York State Legislative session ended with little legislating, and that is not a bad thing for Buffalo Niagara employers. Compared to the busy and extended budget negotiations earlier this year, the end of session seemed sedate (As I write this, Governor Cuomo has called the Legislature back to Albany to address a few outstanding issues, chief among them mayoral control of New York City schools). Here are the highlights:
A new report by the Empire Center confirms what many have believed for years – New York State’s prevailing wage law drives up construction costs as much as 25 percent, squandering precious tax dollars in the process.
Governor Cuomo’s plan to have 50 percent of New York State’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 took center stage this week at an Assembly hearing. At issue is the cost associated with executing this plan, specifically a bailout for Upstate nuclear plants that will hit manufacturers and other high demand users directly in the wallet.
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:
New York State has the third highest Workers’ Compensation premium costs in the country. To ease this growing burden on employers, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is committed to achieving real reform.
A record crowd at this year’s Legislative Lunch heard what the Buffalo Niagara Partnership does and does not want to see as a part of 2017-18 State Budget. Two-hundred people, including 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 the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal – specifically what we support, what we oppose and what we think is missing.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal contains an item critical to bringing down the cost of electricity for local manufacturers. The Governor’s plan calls for the scheduled sunset of the 18-a Utility Tax on March 31, 2017. A mandated tax on the end user’s utility bill, 18-a hits manufacturers and other high demand users the hardest and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
In putting together our annual Advocacy Agenda, we survey our membership to gauge their pain points and areas of concern. Each year, our members continue to identify high taxes and escalating labor costs as their largest barriers to success. Those results are not surprising. Buffalo Niagara employers operate in one of the most highly taxes and overly regulated economic environments anywhere in the country.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is doubling down on the Buffalo Billion. At his Buffalo State of the State address at the University at Buffalo yesterday, Cuomo outlined his continued commitment to the Buffalo Billion – rebranded Buffalo Billion2 (Buffalo Billion Squared). The Governor told the crowd he will include $500 million in funding for the Buffalo Billion2 in his proposed budget later this month and hopes the State Legislature backs the full allocation. The funding will be used to support several development projects and initiatives in Buffalo and throughout Western New York, including: