Grant Loomis

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About Grant Loomis

Vice President, Government Affairs

NYS Legislative Sessions Ends with Little Legislating

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:

NYS Budget Update – Key Issues Included in Budget Extender

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:

State Budget Talk Over Lunch

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.

Cuomo’s Plan to Sunset 18-a Will Provide Relief for Manufacturers

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.

2017 Advocacy Agenda Expanded – Taxes & Labor Costs

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.

The Partnership’s Take on the Governor’s State of the State

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 Billion(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: