Speaker Heastie Announces Assembly Working Group on Transitioning N.Y. Economy Toward COVID-19 Recovery

Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the appointment of an Assembly internal working group to focus on transitioning New York State’s economy toward a COVID-19 recovery. The working group will be led by Assembly Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry Committee Chair Harry B. Bronson and Small Business Committee Chair Al Stirpe, and will continue the Assembly Majority’s efforts to assist workers and the business community in responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic at both the local and the state level. In New York State, small businesses make up 98 percent of the state’s businesses and employ 54 percent of the state’s workforce. At the peak of the pandemic, almost two million New Yorkers lost their jobs.

The working group will also include the following committee chairs, who will work with the Majority members of their committees to develop a comprehensive approach to help New York recover from this terrible pandemic. 

  • Assemblymember Edward C. Braunstein, chair, Committee on Cities
  • Assemblymember Latoya Joyner, chair, Committee on Labor
  • Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, chair, Committee on Agriculture
  • Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, chair, Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation
  • Assemblymember Steven Otis, chair, Committee on Science & Technology
  • Assemblymember Victor Pichardo, chair, Committee on Banks
  • Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr., chair, Committee on Local Governments

Given the fact that no industry or part of the state’s economy was untouched by the pandemic and response, the working group may also explore critical issues covered by other committees in the Assembly and request the participation of such appropriate committees to make recommendations in order to assist struggling businesses and workers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on our state. Thousands of New Yorkers have died. Millions lost their jobs. And it fundamentally changed the way we live and do business,” Speaker Heastie said. “This working group will provide a venue to identify the many voices that are struggling to reach state and other levels of government to communicate their immediate and long term needs, and allow us to develop a long term strategy reflective of the true needs of the workforce and businesses across the state.”

At its peak, almost two million New Yorkers lost their jobs due to the pandemic. While the economy has begun to recover, New York’s employment is still almost one million below the pre-pandemic level. Thousands of small businesses across the state have been forced to close their doors, and all have had to change the way they operate and do business.

Throughout this public health crisis, the Assembly Majority has remained committed to working with its partners in government to support New York’s people, businesses and communities. It has advanced policies that give businesses the flexibility to adapt to changing restrictions, and held public hearings for business owners, workers and other stakeholders to bring additional state and federal attention to New York’s dire economic needs.

“Over the course of this pandemic, we have seen businesses close, industries grind to a halt and New Yorkers lose their livelihoods through no fault of their own,” Assemblymember Bronson said. “As chair of the Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry Committee, I am proud to lead this working group with Assemblymember Stirpe, and to bring together our colleagues in other levels of government and across the private and public sector to craft a long-term strategy to get New York out of this public health and economic crisis.”

“This working group is necessary to help small businesses across New York recover from this pandemic and reinvigorate our local and state economies,” Assemblymember Stirpe said. “The Assembly Majority has worked to support New Yorkers and small businesses since the start, but this will allow us to craft a long-term comprehensive strategy with input from the businesses and industries that are on the ground facing these difficulties first hand.”

“Cities have always been the economic engines of our state but from our smallest cities to our largest, this global healthcare crisis has presented significant challenges to their economic and social vitality,” said Assemblymember Braunstein. “This working group will allow us to take a holistic approach to this recovery process by giving a voice to all the stakeholders and allowing us to determine the best strategy for a strong and steady recovery.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered too many New York businesses and left millions in our communities without jobs and struggling to find ways to provide for their families,” said Assemblymember Joyner. “I am eager to work with my colleagues on this working group to help transition our economy to recovery and get hard working New Yorkers back to work.”

“COVID-19 is more than a public health crisis, it’s also an economic crisis, impacting every part of our lives and our state’s economy,” Assemblymember Lupardo said. “I’m looking forward to joining this working group as we tackle the many challenges our businesses and industries are facing. As chair of the Committee on Agriculture, strengthening all aspects of our food supply chain, from farm to table, will be a high priority.”

“The far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have left no sector of our economy untouched which has led to record unemployment, shuttered businesses and crippled industries,” Assemblymember McDonald said. “The challenges are many, but so are the opportunities for finding effective solutions.The work of this group will help us to better forge informed strategies to improve, strengthen and accelerate the economic recovery of our state.”

“Recovering from the many economic challenges facing New York as a result of this ongoing pandemic will require a sustained and focused effort by every level of government and all sectors of our diverse economy,” Assemblymember Otis said. “This working group will provide us with an opportunity to better understand the scope and scale of those challenges across industries as we work to develop strategies and devise solutions to address them.”

 “New York was the first and hardest hit state in our nation when the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores,” said Assemblymember Pichardo. “There is no doubt that recovering from this global health crisis will require a thoughtful and coordinated approach. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get our state’s economy back on track and determining how our banks can best serve New Yorkers during this recovery process.”

 “New York’s economy has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and local governments across the state are reeling from severe losses in revenue while still working to provide critical services to our communities,” said Assemblymember Thiele. “Without real solutions for recovery local governments will be forced to cut necessary services that so many rely on every day. I am proud to be a member of this working group to work on rebuilding our economy and moving us forward.”