Small Businesses: New York’s Heart and Soul

November 14, 2005

New York was built on the back of its small businesses. For hundreds of years, our families, friends and neighbors earned their living by operating small businesses. Here in Central New York and the Finger Lakes region, we are even more dependent on small businesses because they provide jobs, revenue and services to our residents.

I recently took a walking tour of Canandaigua-area small businesses, and I have similar visits planned for Geneva, Seneca Falls, Moravia and other communities throughout the 129th Assembly District. I started the tours as a way to meet small-business owners, see firsthand their products or services, and find ways to help owners better their businesses in a state that, historically, has not been business-friendly.

Many small-business owners I met voiced concerns over problems with New York state and local governments, and their unfriendly stand on business and business-related issues. I completely agree with them; business taxes are exorbitant, excessive zoning or planning restrictions cripple business creation and expansion, and unfunded mandates hamper small-business revenues.

The Assembly minority conference, of which I am a member, has developed initiatives and introduced legislation to protect our small businesses and bring new companies and jobs to New York. We have called for establishment of a Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform that would foster more accessible and responsive government by reducing bureaucratic red tape. We have called for a reduced tax rate on small businesses and tax credits for employers who provide health insurance, training and energy conservation.

Most importantly, it is imperative that we reform our antiquated and stifling workers’ compensation laws. By controlling fraud, offering tax breaks for business owners who operate safe workplaces, establishing a bipartisan benefits commission and instituting other Assembly minority proposals, we can further enhance New York’s small-business appeal.

Since my election to the Assembly, I have worked on behalf of our small-business owners. I serve as chairman of the Assembly Minority Manufacturing Task Force, and I’ve fought for and secured initiatives such as an Empire Zone for every county in New York and a single sales factor for manufacturers. I have been awarded the National Federation of Independent Business’ Guardian of Small Business award, and also received an “A” grade from The Business Council of New York State for 2005.

New York has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Our apples are the best in the world. We manufacture a huge selection of delicious, high-quality wines, and New York is the country’s third-largest dairy producer. It’s time to improve New York’s business climate and create the type of environment in which all of our businesses and residents can thrive.